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Dominican Republic: The Air Force
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Armed Forces Organization, Training, and Equipment > The Air Force


The air force traced its origins to 1928, when the government, inspired by the use of air power in World War I, authorized the creation of an aviation school. The nation's first military aviation element was established in 1932 as an arm of the National Army. As the Military Aviation Corps, the air force became an independent service in 1948. It underwent several name changes during the 1950s, being known as the Dominican National Aviation during 1952-55 and 1957-62 and as the Dominican Air Force during 1955-57. In 1962 it again became known as the Dominican Air Force, the name still in use as of 1989.

After World War II, Trujillo greatly expanded the air force, in part to form a counterweight to the army. By the mid-1950s, the air force had some 240 aircraft and approximately 3,500 personnel. After Trujillo's assassination, however, funds were not allocated for the replacement of aging aircraft, and the air force's air inventory dwindled rapidly.

Air force headquarters was located at San Isidro Air Base. Most aircraft were based at San Isidro as well. Other military air bases were located at Azua, Barahona, La Romana, La Vega, Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, and San Cristóbal. The air force administered the general military medical center located in San Isidro. The air force also ran the nation's civil aeronautics directorate, and air force officers oversaw the operation of the nation's airports.

The air force, numbering some 3,800 personnel in 1989, was organized into four commands, all headquartered at San Isidro. The Air Command was responsible for the direction of all flight operations. It was made up of one counterinsurgency squadron equipped with eight Cessna A-37B Dragonflies, one transport squadron equipped with six C-47 Douglas Dakotas and seven other assorted aircraft, one helicopter squadron (consisting of thirteen aircraft) used for sea and air rescue and for transport, and one training squadron equipped with ten Beech T-34B Mentors and seven Beech T-41D Mescaleros.

The Base Defense Command provided security for all bases and aircraft. It included an airborne commando squadron and an antiaircraft battalion, which was equipped with ten Bofors 40mm antiaircraft guns. The Maintenance Command was responsible for maintenance and repair. The Combat Support Command controlled all base services.

Air force cadets were trained at the Naval Academy at Las Calderas. All other ranks received their training at the Military Aviation School at Haina.

Data as of December 1989

Last Updated: December 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Dominican Republic was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Dominican Republic Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 117 of 128


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