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Aerea Hondurena / Honduran Air Force
Credit: Roundels of the world
Last update 17-12-2016
between Honduras and Nicaragua, governed
by a socialist regime, was
high during the '80s, parti-
cularly when Nicaragua showed in the mid-80s
(unconfirmed) interest in
buying fighters and Cuba
willing to supply MiG-21s.
made several requests in mid-80's to buy
Northrop 12 F-5Es but, when the US
refused to introduce new fighters in Central America,
turned to Israel to buy Kfirs at a cost of USD 125m,
deal blocked by
the USA because their General
Electric J-79 engines needed US
approval for export.
US president Ronal Reagan approved
the sale of Tigers in late 1986, valued at USD 60m, following a
possible introduction of MiG-21s by Nicaragua if the F-5s were
the US Congress granted authorisation in 1987 to supply 10 Northrop
F-5E from the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing and 2 Northrop F-5F from the
405th Tactical Training Wing to Honduras at a cost of USD 75m
under Military Aid, program designation Peace
Bonito, including pilots and technicians training plus some spare
parts. The authorisation was given officially in order to replace the remaining Dassaut Super
Mystere B.2s, 8 of which had been overhauled in USA,
but actually these were kept in use till 27-01-96, when they were
withdrawn from use, leaving the Northrop F-5 as the only fighter.
Tiger painted on tail since 2009
Aircrafts foreseen for Honduras were repainted at Kelly AFB (USA)
beginning from June 87 and delivery started from this base in 16th December 1987, F-5E
serial 4003 and F-5F serial 4001 arriving at La Ceiba, Coronel
Héctor Caraccioli Moncada AB, on 15-12-87, followed by 2
aircrafts on 30-07-88, 2 on 01-11-88, 2 on 11-11-88 (possibly serials 4008/4009). Deliveries were
completed on 22-01-89 with the arrival of the last 4 aircrafts. These
were attached directly to the command of H Caraccioli
Moncada Air Base, the Air Force has no unit designation. Pilots were trained at Williams AFB by the
425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.
Northrop F-5E 4009 ready for delivery at Kelly AFB
21-10-88, note on tail H missing on FAH serial and
additional USAF inscription.
Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5
Training started immediately, but the aircrcrafts did not
participate in the conflict with Nicaragua.
consisted originally of bombs and 2.75 inches rockets, for air
combat only the 20mm cannons were available. Existing rails for
AIMP-9 Sidewinder at wingtips were kept; the missiles were received later (when/type?) .
In mid-March and December 1989 2 Northrop
F-5E of the 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron were each
at La Ceiba AB to train Honduran pilots in air-combat.
backed local political opposition pressures to retire the F-5s
after the end of the end of the confrontation with Nicaragua in
undelined by restrictions to the supply of spare parts and
support. This, and budgetary restrictions, resulted in a very low
availability of the fleet till mid 1994, when most of the aircrafts
were sent to Northrop's Palmdale plant for a major overhaul.
Unclear is the collaboration with
Chile; rumours that the F-5s were to be transferred to Chile proved
wrong, only some engines were sent to Chile to be
information state that aircrafts overhaul started locally in 1996
help of Chilean personnel.
Northrop F-5E 4009 and camouflaged Super Mystère B2 2011 (wfu)
on show at La Ceiba 12-99.
Note H Caraccioli Moncada AB badge behind the cockpit. Photo: Archive
The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
Northrop F-5E 4005 with camouflaged
tank seen at La Ceiba in December 1999 under a menacing
Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5
The year 1999 saw the loss at La Ceiba of one F-5E (serial 4004) on June 3rd due to engine
problems, while serial 4007 lost its canopy in flight in September 2006, without serious consequences.
were 10 aircrafts in service in 2004 according to an US source. Another
source mentions 9 were active and 2 in maintenance.
Line-up in December 1999 at La Ceiba of Northrop F-5E 4007 (note gray
radar nose), 4011 with
original black radar nose and F-5F with sharkmouth nose.
Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5E
of US military aid to Honduras in 2007 brought some limitations
to the use of the fleet. Airworthy aircrafts are shifted between
storage and use in order to keep flying hours low.
happend on 03-05-07 when the Honduran president flew in a Northrop F-5F
from La Ceiba AB to Tegucigalpa-Toncontin AB, a difficult airport with
a short runway (1'869 m only!), in a 55 minutes flight.
present a section of two Northrop F-5E is daily on a 5-10 minutes alarm
readiness at La Ceiba AB to intercept any unauthorized aircraft
Several Northrop F-5 have
overflown di Gulf of Fonseca (officially on training flights) during
the tension with El Salvador and Nicaragua beginning March 2013 for the
control of the Gulf. They intervened when Honduran fishing boats were
stopped by Nicaraguan patrol boats the same month.
A contract for the refurbishment of the 11 Northrop F-5 fleet has been drafted
by the end of 2013; a maximum of
4 aircrafts are available any time. Maintenance problems has grounded
the remainder. A statement by the Air Force commander stated that
five of the nine F-5s needed repairs before they could fly. Six Tigers are being worked on or are in the
reserve according to an unofficial source published in June 2013.
Talks with Embraer to evaluate options to upgrade the aircrafts started in May 2014 but in July 2014 it is was learned that the US government had blocked the plans.
Honduras is member of the F-5 Technical Operation Group which provides all technical assistance need for the fleet.
An agreement with Israel
for military co-operation was signed on 27-07-16. It icludes repairing
of 10 Northrop F-5s, Cessna A-37s and 9 Tucanos for a total of USD 210m.
This must be approved by the US Administration.
Any additional information/correction.