The Chilean Air Force (FACh) held on Tuesday at Los Cóndores Air Force Base in Iquique, the ceremony that marked the deactivation of the A-36 Toqui training jets (local designation for the CASA C-101 Aviojet), after 39 years acting in the training of Chilean combat pilots. In all, FACh operated 35 advanced trainer aircraft.
According to the FACh, the A-36s totaled more than 40,000 flight hours in the country and trained more than 260 F-5 and F-16 fighter pilots.
To preserve the history of the aircraft in Chile, an A-36 will be transferred to the Museo Nacional Aeronáutico y del Espacio, in the capital Santiago, and another example will become a monument at the base of Grupo de Aviación Nº1, in Iquique.
Over nearly four decades, FACh operated 35 aircraft, including units that were assembled in the country by the local manufacturer ENAER in partnership with CASA (current member of the Airbus group), from Spain.
With the retirement of the A-36, the role in Chile will be performed by the Embraer A-29B Super Tucano turboprops, a plane that has been in service in the country since 2009.
“The plane has completed a stage, we are also the last country that is flying this plane, maintenance has therefore become increasingly difficult and expensive. On the other hand, the obsolescence of its systems has no comparison with the technology or capacity of the current FACh aircraft. Therefore, when choosing the A-29B, these obsolete qualities were taken to the A-36, as its technological capabilities allow a quick and better transition to the F-16”, said the Commander of Grupo de Aviación Nº1, Colonel Rodrigo Cifuentes .
Designed by CASA in the 1970s, the C-101 Aviojet was for many years the main advanced trainer aircraft of the Spanish Air Force, which operated more than 80 single-engine jets between 1980 and 2020 – currently, only half of them would be active.
Other customers for the aircraft, of which 166 units were built, were the armed forces of Honduras and Jordan, as well as the FACh.
In 2020, Airbus presented the first details of the AFJT (Airbus Future Jet Trainer) program, which is conducted by the CASA division in order to precisely design a replacement for the Aviojet.