Squadron 201 Falcões of the Portuguese Air Pressure, based mostly at Monte Actual Air Base nº5, celebrates 65 years of operational exercise.
The Falcões Squadron started its operational exercise as 50 Falcões Squadron at Ota Air Base nº 2 on Feb. 4, 1958. The unit adopted the “Battle or Peace it doesn’t matter to us” motto and “Peregrine Falcon” image, and was commanded by Pilot-Aviator Captain Gualdino Moura Pinto.
The brand new F-86F Sabre fighters started to reach on the Ota Base on the finish of August of the identical yr and remained in a provisional scenario since their vacation spot can be the Monte Actual Air Base, which at the moment was nonetheless being constructed and can be opened later, in 1959.
On Sept. 11, 1958, the squadron was renamed Squadron 51, because of the then revision of the Air Pressure Items numbering system and on Sept. 22, the primary flight by a Portuguese pilot passed off in F- 86F, the primary plane that outfitted the Falcões squadron. On Sept. 24, the identical pilot handed the sound barrier for the primary time in Portugal.
In 1961, the Air Pressure deployed eight F-86Fs from the Monte Actual Base to Guinea-Bissau, as a part of a mission dubbed “Operation Atlas”. Till 1964, operational missions adopted each other, totalling 577, consolidating information and mitigating the risk posed by way of MiG-15s and MiG-17s by Guinea-Conakry towards Portuguese Guinea.
In 1974, the restructuring that passed off within the Air Pressure led to the creation of Operational Group 51 at Monte Actual Air Base No. 5, giving rise, in 1978, to the renaming of the “Falcões” to “201 Squadron”.
The Falcons continued to function the F-86F till 1980, with the final flight on June 30, totalling 60,000 flight hours, with this platform in peacetime and within the Abroad theater of operations, the place 5 pilots perished.
On Dec. 24 of the identical yr, with the arrival of the primary A-7P Corsair II, the “Falcões” turned generally known as Esquadra 302 and, over the course of 15 years, carried out round 30,000 flight hours with this new plane.
On Oct. 4, 1993, with the acquisition of the then trendy F-16A/B, the Air Pressure determined to rename the Falcons as Squadron 201, returning to the unique nomenclature associated to the Air Protection mission.
In 1998, and simply 4 years after the start of the operation with the F-16s, the Portuguese Authorities determined to deploy three F-16As to the Aviano Air Base, in Italy, to be a part of the “Allied Force” operation, throughout the scope of the armed battle in Kosovo, with a complete of 270 operational sorties for a complete 1,130 flight hours.
In 2000, the 201 Squadron deployed six F-16A plane to Nellis Air Base, within the Nevada desert, US, to take part within the “Red Flag” train, thought-about the benchmark train for aviation.
In 2003, new capabilities have been launched into the F-16 fleet with the objective of organizing the implementation of the method of operational incorporation of the F-16 MLU fleet. Nevertheless, it was solely on Could 26, 2011, that Squadron 201 started to formally function the F-16 MLU platform, for the reason that preliminary ones operated in Squadron 301 Jaguares, the opposite F-16 squadron stationed at Air Base 5 in Monte Actual.
Since 2007, Squadron 201 has built-in a number of NATO Air Policing detachments within the Baltic States and Iceland, in addition to detachments in Romania and Poland throughout the scope of NATO Assurance Measures.
In the course of the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of Air Base 5 in Monte Real, the F-16 OCU 15115, then in service with the 201 Falcões Squadron, was chosen to show the commemorative livery of that date. It was a portray in blue tones paying homage to the F-86F Saber, the plane from which the F-16 inherited the Air Protection legacy.
All through its existence, Esquadra dos Falcões has all the time identified methods to adapt to the a number of operational and technological challenges which have arisen, all the time guaranteeing the success of the missions entrusted to it with excessive professionalism.
Falcões – Serving Portugal for 65 years, fulfilling the motto: “Battle or Peace, it doesn’t matter to us”.