Author & photographer: Ian French

Although Army Aviation began in 1919 it was a minor force until 1997 when a huge expansion programme began with initial deliveries of 10 Mil Mi 17-1V and 5 Sikorsky UH-60L.  These were quickly augmented with further examples as well as reconditioned UH-1H and UH-1N.  Numbers delivered now exceed 20 Mi 17, 60 UH-60, 30 UH-1H and 30 UH-1N as well as many fixed wing types.

Brigada 25 de Aviación Ejercito was established in 1998 and now has the following reporting units:

Batallón

Batallón de Aviación No 1 Aviones (BAAV1)

Batallón de Aviación No 2 Asalto Aereo (BAAV2)

Batallón de Aviación No 3 Carga y Transporte (BAAV3)

Batallón de Aviación No 4 Reconocimiento y Escolta (BAAV4)

Batallón de Aviación No 5 Movimiento Aereo (BAAV5)

Type

Fixed wing

 

UH-60

 

Mil MI-17

 

UH-1N

 

UH-1H-II

Location

Bogota

 

Tolemaida

 

Tolemaida

 

Tolemaida

 

Tolemaida

Tolemaida is by far the largest base and the aviation school is based here as well as units noted above.  Maintenance is also performed here on all rotary types.

The army has been fighting FARC for decades in one of the world’s longest running civil wars.  The Army has been more aggressive in recent years and this was evidenced in 2014 with the creation of the Batallóns de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación, or mobile batallions, which are counter guerilla units trained to perform special missions and night operations in any part of the country.  Some of the batallions specialise in counterinsurgency, some in counter narcotics and some in combatting kidnapping and extortion.

Brigada 33 de Aviación has the following reporting units:

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.1                 Buenavista

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.2                 Bucaramanga

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.3                 Popayan

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.4                 San José del Guaviare

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.5                 Neiva

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.6                 Larandia

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.7                 Caucasia

Batallón de Movilidad y Maniobra de Aviación No.8                 Saravena

The above is an abbreviated version of the original article and is an excuse to publish some photos!

Special thanks to 4Aviation, Paolo Di Biagio and the Colombian Army for their help in producing this article.

Aviation Press Limited owns the copyrights to this article & associated photographs.

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