Alternative Cold War History 1994

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Email us

Spanish Air Force

Spanish Air Force

The Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire, or Army of the Air) has undergone significant transition since the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, the shift to democracy and joining NATO in 1982. Always depending on the west for equipment Spain replaced its F-86 and T-33 with F-4 Phantoms, F-5 Freedom Fighters, and Mirage in the 1960s and now the investment in the EF-18 has propelled the Spanish Air Force into the modern era. Because of past difficulties with obtaining aircraft or replacement parts from the US, Spain maintains a policy of ensuring that it holds both European (primarily French) as well as US fighters at all times.

EF-18 Hornet

The fighting core of the Spanish Airforce is the EF-18A, with four operational Squadrons plus a training group. Spain obtained 60 ‘A+’ and 12 ‘B+ versions of the aircraft, prefixed as EF these aircraft are very close to the ‘C/D’ standard allowing them to employ a modern suite of precision ground attack munitions, however they are limited to the Aim-7F Sparrow missile for air to air combat. An attempt (historically successful) to acquire a further 24 ex-US Navy Hornets has been thwarted by US requirements to expand its inventory of F/A-18s. Each Squadron operates at least two EF-18B in addition to its single seat fighters.

Wing Squadron Name Base # of AC Type Role
Gr.12 Esc 121 Aces Torrejon 14 EF 18 CAS/Mar
Gr.12 Esc 122 Black Cats Torrejon 14 EF 18 A2A
Gr.15 Esc 151 Bulls Zaragoza 14 EF 18 A2A
Gr.15 Esc 152 Mars Zaragoza 14 EF 18 SEAD
Gr.15 Esc 153 Zaragoza 16 EF 18 Training

Mirage F.1

Since 1975, one of the mainstays of the Spanish Air Force has been the Mirage F.1. Of the original 91 airframes, 48 remain in service. All of these have been upgraded to the ‘F.1M’ standard; half have been modified to the ‘EE’ interceptor role, and the remainder are the ‘CE’ standard focusing on Close Air Support (CAS)

Wing Squadron Name Base # of AC Type Role
Ala.11 Esc 111 Wolves Moron 12 F.1CE CAS
Ala.11 Esc 113 Cocks Moron 12 F.1EE A2A
Ala.14 Esc 141 Bulldogs Llanos 12 F.1CE CAS
Ala.14 Esc 142 Tiger Llanos 12 F.1EE A2A

SF-5 Freedom Fighter

These Freedom Fighters are built in Europe and modified for the Spanish Airforce, the 20 remaining strike versions are all upgraded ‘B’ model two seaters while the last single seat reconnaissance versions are upgraded from the fighter version and retaining the original gun. In addition to Close Air Support these aircraft provide training to future EF-18 pilots.

Wing Squadron Name Base # of AC Type Role
Ala.23 Esc 231 Talons Talavera 10 SF-5B Trg/CAS
Ala.23 Esc 232 Hawks Talavera

10

6

SF-5B

SRF-5A

CAS/Recon

P-3B

Spain purchased 5 P-3B’s from Norway in 1989 and 221 Squadron operates them from Moron Air Base.

CN-212 and CN-235

These are home grown Spanish transport aircraft developed by CASA and IPTN before these two companies were purchased by Airbus. The CN-235 entered production in 1986 began replacing the CN-212 the same year. Both have Electronic Warfare, Photo Reconnaissance, Search and Rescue, and Maritime Patrol variants but in 1994 these functions remained with the CN-212 while the CN-235 was quickly replacing the cargo variants.

Falcon 20

This French built executive jet serves the Portuguese, and many other European nations, as an Electronic warfare aircraft.

C-130H

The ubiquitous Hercules serves the Spanish Air Force as both a Tactical Transport (8) and an areal refueling tanker (5).

Boing 707B: The one example of the venerable 707 in the Spanish Air Force serves as a refueling tanker.

F-27: These three light twin engine turbo prop serves as a Search and Rescue aircraft.

Wing Squadron Name Base # of AC Type Role
Ala.22 221 Poker Moron 5 P-3B ASW/MPA
Ala.31 331 Jumbo Zaragoza 5 KC-130H Refueling
Ala.31 332 Zaragoza 8 C-130 Transport
Ala.35 351 Getafe 5 C-295 Transport
Ala.35 352 Getafe 5 C-295 Transport
Ala.35 353 Getafe 5 C-295 Transport
Ala.37 371 Matacan 5 C-212 Transport
Ala.37 372 Matacan 5 C-212 Transport
403 Madrid 1 C-212 Photo Recon
Gr.47 471 Torrejon 1 KC-707 Refueling
Gr.47 472 Torrejon

1

2

C-212 EW

Falcon 20

EW
Gr.54 541 Torrejon 6 C-212 SAR SAR
Ala.46 802 Las Palmas 3 F-27 MPA