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Ejercito del Aire de Espana; Torrejon, October 9 - 12, 2014

The Spanish Air Force, part 4; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The Air Force of Spain received the EF2000 Eurofighter in the recent years and is the newest aircraft in use. Besides these modern fighter aircraft also transport aircraft, patrol aircraft, tankers and reconnaissance aircraft are in use at the Spanish Air force. The Spanish Air Force is modern and is a member of NATO.

The primary fighter aircraft of the Spanish Air Force is the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Spanish F-18s are referred to as the EF-18A and EF-18B in which the letter E stands for Espana. The EF-18s were delivered to the Spanish Air Force from 1982. The F-18 was in Spain the successor of the Mirage III and the F-4C Phantom. The big difference with the American Hornets is the absence of the launch system to the nose wheel of the aircraft. The Hornets are used in both the air defense role and the offensive role. The EF-18s are based at two Spanish airfields in two different wings, namely; Ala 12 in Madrid-Torrejon de Ardoz which is composed of the 121 and 122 Escuadron and Ala 15 in Zaragoza which is composed of the 151, 152 and 153 Escuadron. The former American second hand F/A-18s are assigned to Ala 46 on the island of Gran Canaria at Las Palmas-Gando Air Base and are assigned to the 462 Escuadron. The Spanish Air Force has received over 96 Hornets and a total of 83 aircraft are nowadays still in operational service. The second fighter type in Spain is the EF2000 Eurofighter. The Eurofighter is the newest fighter in Spain. The aircraft received primary the role of air defense fighter, but it can also be used for offensive tasks. There are a total of 73 Eurofighters ordered of which 42 are now delivered to the Spanish Air Force. The Eurofighter replaced in Spain the obsolete Mirage F1. The Eurofighters are stationed at two airfields in Spain. Aircraft in Moron de la Frontera are assigned to Ala 11 which is build-up of Escuadron 111 and 113 and the second unit is based at Albacete-Los Llanos; this unit is Ala 14 with the Escuadrons 141 and 142.

For refueling other aircraft, the Spanish Air Force has access to three Boeing 707s. The aircraft are of the type B707-331C, B707-368C and B707-351C. The aircraft are assigned to the 471 and 472 Escuadron which is part of the 47 Gruppo Mixto at Madrid-Torrejon de Ardoz. One of the most widely used transport aircraft of the Spanish Air Force is the Casa 212 Aviocar of the type C212-100 and C212-200. Most

C212s are based at Murcia-Alcantarilla where they fly at the 721 Escuadron which is part of the 72 Gruppo. The other aircraft are based at Madrid Torrejon de Ardoz at the 47 Gruppo Mixto and 541 Escuadron and the CLAEX. The Air Force has also received 20 CN-235s of three variants. At the CECAF at Madrid-Getafe are two CN-235-10M aircraft stationed. The CN-235-100Ms are stationed at Matacan at the GRUEMA and are assigned to the 744 Escuadron. There are three units which are using the CN-235-100VIGMA aircraft for the SAR flight, namely; the 801 Escuadron at Ala 49 at Son San Juan, the 802 Escuadron at Ala 46 at Las Palmas-Gando and the 803 Escuadron at Ala 48 at Madrid-Getafe. The Spanish Air Force has received 13 Casa C-295M transport aircraft. This transport aircraft are assigned to Ala 35 at Madrid-Getafe. The aircraft fly at the 352 and 353 Escuadron. The Spanish Air Force has also aircraft of the type C-130H and the KC-130H Hercules in use. The transport aircraft are based at Zaragoza and are assigned to the 311 and 312 Escuadron at Ala 31. A portion of the Hercules fleet is still painted into the yellow green camouflage pattern.

In addition to the large fleet of transport aircraft, the Spanish Air Force also has a number of utility and VIP aircraft. The largest aircraft of this series is the Airbus A310. The Spanish Air Force has two planes in use of the type A310-304 for transport and passenger transport tasks. The aircraft are stationed at Madrid-Torrejon de Ardoz and are assigned to the 451 Escuadron which is part of the 45 Gruppo. A third aircraft of the type A310-304MRTT is still owned by Airbus Industries at Madrid-Getafe. This aircraft is able to refuel other aircraft and in addition it can be used for the transportation of materials. A second type which is also stationed at Madrid-Getafe is the Beech King Air C90. The Spanish Air Force has received 15 of these aircraft of which four are operational now; the aircraft are used for light transport duties. The remaining aircraft were sold to civilian companies. The aircraft are part of the CECAF and are assigned to the 409 Escuadron. The CECAF (Centro Cartogr√°fico y Fotogr√°fico del Ejercito del Aire) is the Spanish center for aerial photography and map makers. The third type of utility aircraft is the Falcon 900B. The Spanish Air Force has five of these planes in use. The Falcon 900 is a larger version of the Falcon 20 and has three engines. The planes fly from Madrid-Torrejon de Ardoz where they are assigned to the 451 Escuadron of the 45 Gruppo.

One of the main reconnaissance aircraft of the Spanish Air Force is the Lockheed P-3 Orion. The Spanish Air Force has received a total of 12 Orions of which five are still in use. The Orions are of the type P-3A, P-3B, P3A (M), and P-3B (M). The Orions are stationed at Moron de la Frontera and are assigned to the 221 Escuadron which is part of the 22 Gruppo. The aircraft are used for maritime patrol flights and reconnaissance. The Orions have the main task of monitoring the Spanish coastline against intruders and smugglers. A second important task of the Orion is anti-submarine warfare. For short distance reconnaissance the Spanish Air Force has three Cessna C560 Citations in use. The Cessna's are based at Madrid-Getafe and where they are assigned to the 403 Escuadron which is part of the CECAF. The aircraft are used for light transport duties and reconnaissance over land. During this reconnaissance maps are created and updated. For electronic warfare, the Spanish Air Force has the Falcon 20ECM available. There is also a Falcon 20E, a Falcon 20D and a Falcon 20F in use at the Spanish Air Force. The Falcons are stationed at Madrid-Torrejon de Ardoz and are part of the 472 Escuadron which is assigned to the 47th Gruppo Mixto. The ECM Falcons are used to interrupt enemy radars and communications equipment. Fighters are able to enter enemy territory easily with the help of these planes. The other Falcons are used for reconnaissance and patrol flights.




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