Tag Archives: Venezuelan Air Force

Hijacked Helicopter Launches Bizarre Attack on Venezuelan Government Installations In Alleged Coup Attempt

Helicopter Attack in Venezuela Mimics Failed 2016 Turkish Coup.

In a bizarre incident a man described as “rogue policeman Oscar Perez” allegedly led the commandeering of a Bolkow BO-105 police helicopter on Wednesday, June 28. The party used the aircraft to attack the Interior Ministry firing small arms at the building and then dropped grenades on the Supreme Court building in downtown Caracas, Venezuela.

The incident is reminiscent of the July 15, 2016 coup d’état attempt in Turkey when Turkish gunship helicopters attacked the police Special Forces headquarters and police air force headquarters in Golbasi, Turkey outside the city of Ankara. The Turkish attacks were more significant than the Venezuelan incident, at least so far. The Turkish incident escalated to an unsuccessful coup that accounted for many fatalities before it was stopped.

Rogue policeman Oscar Perez commandeered a Bolkow BO-105 police helicopter used to attack the Interior Ministry building and Supreme Court building in downtown Caracas, Venezuela (Photo: RT News)

The incident in Venezuela continues questions about the stability of the government and the security it exerts over its armed forces, particularly its air force.

Venezuela operates a small but modern air force consisting of a mix of light, counterinsurgency aircraft such as the Cessna 208 Caravan single-engine transport aircraft, Fairchild Metroliner twin-engine turboprops, Dornier DO-228 and Short 360 twin-engine box turboprops, both of which can be used for special operations and even gunship applications. They also operate the Russian built Mi-17 helicopter and French Eurocopter AS532. Both helicopters have gunship capability.

At the more regional level Venezuela has a potentially capable inventory of tactical jet combat aircraft that include twenty-three Sukhoi SU-30MK2 multi-role aircraft of unknown serviceability and sixteen U.S. manufactured F-16As. There have been persistent reports since 2004 of ongoing negotiations to purchase up to fifty MiG-29s from Russia, including two-seat trainer versions. In a report from intelligence think tank GlobalSecurity.org, Venezuela’s F-16A fleet was characterized as having “Only six of the 21 remaining F-16s in the Venezuelan fleet being fully mission capable, while a proposed US overhaul of the F-16 squadron remained on hold.”

One of Venezuela’s new Sukhoi SU-30MK2 aircraft. A coup attempt could leave these aircraft vulnerable to exploitation by revolutionaries.
(Photo: Venezuelan Air Force)

In the event of elevated instability in the region these aircraft could play a significant tactical role, in a similar way that commandeered aircraft influenced the failed Turkish revolt of 2016.

In any event this escalation of insurgent activity that includes highjacked aircraft will warrant increased monitoring of the military situation in Venezuela, especially its remaining air assets.

This undated file photo likely shows rogue Venezuelan policeman Oscar Perez in the pilot’s seat of a Bolkow BO-105 police helicopter painted differently than the one used in today’s attack on downtown Caracas, Venezuela (Photo: Harold Castro)

This is what happens when a Narcos plane meets some armed F-16 fighter jets

According to Vladimir López Padrino, commander of the Ceofanb, the Comando Estratégico Operational de la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana (Venezuelan Air Force Strategic Operations Command), who gave the new using his twitter account, on the evening of Saturday Oct. 12 some F-16s belonging to the Aviación Militar Bolivariana Venezolana (Bolivarian National Air Force of Venezuela) shot down two Narcos planes south of Apure, not far from the border with Colombia.


Image credit: Wiki

Padrino released an image of the remains of one of the intruder aircraft: a sort of admonishment for all those who might believe that flying above the Amazon rainforest at low altitude could be enough to escape interception.

Top image credit: via @vladimirpadrino. H/T to Emiliano Guerra for pointing the news over.

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Rare Venezuelan Air Force’s Chinese tactical cargo plane makes an appearance in Malta

On Sept. 17, a quite rare visitor made an appearance at Malta International Airport: a Venezuelan Air Force Shaanxi Y-8F-200.

Wearing new special markings on tail promoting the “Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas” (ALBA) the Y-8F (with radio callsign FAV0102) is one of the eight such plane purchased by Caracas in 2012.

The aircraft is a Chinese development of the Soviet Antonov An-12 tactical transport plane assigned to the Grupo Aéreo de Transporte No.6 based at the Base Aérea El Libertador at Palo Negro.

The reason of the Venezuela Air Force plane’s unusual stopover in the middle of Mediterranean Sea is still unknown.


Image credit: Malcolm Bezzina


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Photo shows pilots ejecting from their jet moments before it crashed into the ground

The following image was taken by Erwin Fuguet Gedde at Maracay-El Libertador airbase, Venezuela, where the Venezuelan Air Force was celebrating its 92 Anniversary with the Día de la Aviación.

It depicts a Hongdu K-8 Karakorum (a two-seat intermediate jet trainer and light attack aircraft designed in China) about to crash into the ground near the airport, moments after the two pilots onboard had safely ejected from the doomed jet.

Image credit: Erwin Fuguet Gedde

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Did Iran really get one or more F-16 fighter jets from Venezuela?

During the late ’70s Iran ordered 160 F-16As. However, with the fall of the Shah in 1979, the order was cancelled and those aircraft were never delivered, although some tooling and maintenance equipment reportedly arrived in country in readiness for deliveries.

Still, there are some (mainly Iranians who reportedly saw them) who argue two airframes did make their way to Iran. According to what has been written on some aviation forums across the world, the two F-16s that were delivered before the procurement was cancelled, were based at Mehrabad Air Base, near Tehran.

According to such accounts, one “Fighting Falcon” is still operational whereas the other was disassembled for reverse engineering and then sent to Pakistan. The jet sent to Pakistan was itself looked at by the Pakistani military with the idea of reverse engineering it, although Pakistan had bought the F-16 itself.

Some say that in return for the airframe Pakistan provided Iran with nuclear technology, although this is just one of the many speculations that surround the story.

Anyway, the Spanish newspaper ABC has recently reported that at least one F-16 of the 23 purchased by Venezuela in 1983, was transferred to Iran by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Military cooperation between Chavez and Ahmadinejad was recently proved by the use of some Iranian Mohajer 2 drones, operating in Venezuela under the name of Sant Arpia.

According to the information gathered by ABC, the F-16s for Tehran have been disassembled and packed into several sealed and unmarked wooden crates which were then loaded onto a Venezuelan Boeing 707.

The 707 took off from El Liberator Air Base and stopped in Brazil, Algeria before landing in Tehran.

The airframe would have been brought back to flying condition in Iran to test it against the local air defense systems in anticipation of an Israeli or U.S. attack on the Iranian nuke program.

After a visit (to Tehran) in 2009 by the director of Venezuelan military, minutes that were signed after a high level meeting are thought to have implied that Venezuela promised to speed up further transfers of further jets, therefore there could be more than three airframes in Iran.

A quick google search for the above shows that various forums are awash with this after ABC and later Haaretz as well as several other media outlets ran reports back in June that seem to back this up.

It remains to be seen if proof is forthcoming.

Still, even if Venezuela really gave Tehran one of its jets, the airframe was already rather dated in 2006, and it would be of very little use to calibrate anti-aircraft radar systems against the most modern threats: for instance the Israeli Air Force, among the others, uses F-16I Sufa (Block 52) jets that are much different in terms of avionics and equipment from Block 15 examples.

Hence, not only is there no evidence any F-16 is currently in Iran, nor it would be of any real interest for the Iranian military.

Noteworthy, among the various images allegedly showing F-16 in Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force color scheme that can be found online, the one below is one of the most interesting. It seems to show Iranian (?) officers inspecting a (dual seater) F-16 in a hangar. The fact that the photo is in the usual FARS News agency framing makes it a bit more realistic.

However, the aircraft is in the Venezuelan Air Force color scheme and the image seems to have been taken inside one of the soft hangars at El Libertador airbase as shown in this photo on the F16.net website.

Therefore, either the image is a fake (like many others you can find on the Internet, some of those showing scale models) or it was taken by the FARS photographer Vahid Reza Alaei during a visit in Venezuela of an Iranian delegation.

Written with David Cenciotti.

Image credit: FARS News Agency (or fake?)