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Mexican Naval Aviation

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Title: Mexican Naval Aviation  
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Mexican Naval Aviation

The Mexican Naval Aviation (Spanish: Fuerza AeroNaval ) or FAN literally meaning Naval Air Force, is the naval air arm of the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Navy is divided into two naval fleets: Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.[1][2]


Naval aviation for Mexico dates back its roots all the way to 1918, when an indigenous made float biplane was successfully tested at the Port of Veracruz, the aircraft was flown by Carlos Santa Ana. In the year 1926 a squadron of float planes were designed and made for the Mexican Navy, but without personnel. Carlos Castillo Breton, became the very first Naval pilot in 1927 after training in The U.S. and in Mexico. Between 1927 to 1943, some aircraft were acquired, with a total of seven naval officers gaining their wings, although some of these joined the Mexican Air Force. World War II saw the creation of the Naval Aviation school in 1943 at Las Bajadas, Veracruz. These were also ex-FAM aircraft, used to patrol the Gulf of Mexico for German submarines and were later used for training at the Naval Aviation School.

Years after the war, the role of Mexican Naval Aviation were assigned as supporting the ground and sea naval units in Search & Rescue, coastal patrol and assistance to the general population in case of emergencies or disasters.

Times of Modernization

In the nineties, the Mexican navy started to acquire Russian built aircraft and helicopters like the Mil Mi-2, Mil Mi-8 and Antonov An-32B, also purchasing French, U.S. and German made helicopters and even Finnish built L-90 Redigo. In 1999, the Mexican navy started a programme to build kit planes and light helicopters at Las Bajadas, Veracruz.

As of 2001, Mexican naval aviation reported to have 118 aircraft, of which 68 are fixed wing in 9 squadrons and 50 helicopters in 9 squadrons, either in land bases or assigned on board of ocean patrol boats and frigates.

More recent purchases to the fleet were three ex-IDF/AF E-2C Hawkeyes, the first arriving in early July 2004. At the end of the same month, the first two EADS upgraded C212-200 Aviocars flew back to Mexico, with the remainder six being upgraded at BAN Las Bajadas. The most recent purchase are two AS565 Panthers. These helicopters will perform shipborne duties.[3]


The factor of the country's geographical position, requires the deployment of units and aircraft facilities, allowing The Mexican Navy to exercise its naval power.[4]

Gulf of Mexico Naval Air Force - HQ in Tuxpan, Veracruz

Pacific Naval Air Force - HQ in Manzanillo, Colima

Mexico City Naval Air Base

Aircraft fleet

Current aircraft

The aircraft quantities are approximate,[5][6] and estimated to be 68 airplanes and 57 helicopters.[7][8][9]
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service
Combat aircraft
Valmet L-90 Finland Combat/Counter Insurgency L-90TP 8
Zlin Z-242 Czech Republic Training Z-242L 8[10]
Maule M-7 USA Training MX-7-180A 8
Antonov An-32 Ukraine Tactical transport An-32B 3
CASA C-295[11][12] Spain Tactical transport C295M 8
Bombardier Dash 8 Canada Tactical transport DH-8 1
Turbo Commander USA Transport 980 Turbo 4
Learjet USA VIP transport LJ25 1
Learjet USA VIP transport LJ31 2
Learjet USA VIP transport LJ60 1
Gulfstream IV USA VIP transport G450 1
Beechcraft King Air USA Utility transport 350ER 1[13]
Reconnaissance and Intelligence
CASA C-212 Spain Surveillance C-212-400 7[14]
CASA CN-235 Spain Surveillance CN-235MP 300 2
Lancair USA Reconnaissance IV-P
Super ES
Legacy 2000
Bölkow Bo 105 Germany Surveillance EC-Super Five 11
Eurocopter Caracal France Search & rescue EC-725AP 3[9]
Eurocopter Fennec France Search & rescue AS555AF 2
Eurocopter Panther France Combat AS565MB 4
MD Helicopters MD 500 USA Training MD-500 4
Mil Mi-2 Russia Transport Mi-2 Hopite 1
Mil Mi-17 Russia Transport Mi-17IV/V5 23
MD Helicopters MD Explorer USA Combat MD-902 6
Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk USA Transport and combat UH-60M 3[15]
UAV SEMAR Mexico Reconnaissance/Intelligence T1 / T2 / T3 3

Recent purchases

Aircraft Origin Type Version On Order Notes
EADS CASA Spain surveillance CASA CN-235 6 + 4 6 purchased by Mexico,[16][17][18] and 4 from the Mérida Initiative aide package.[15]
Mi-17 Russia Transport helicopter Mi-17V5 3


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Mexican Navy Aircraft
  6. ^ Mexican Navy's new purchases
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Moravan in the Armada de México
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Blackhawks ready to fly for the Mexican Navy. (25 August 2011)
  16. ^ Mexican navy's budget increases by a fifth
  17. ^ Seis CN-235-300 Persuader para la Armada de México
  18. ^
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