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201 Squadron (Portugal)


201 Squadron (Portugal)

Esquadra 201
201 Squadron
Active February 4, 1958 — July 31, 1980, as 50 and 51 Squadron
October 1993
Country  Portugal
Branch Air Force
Type Fighter squadron
Home Base Air Base 2 (1958—1959)
Air Base 5 (1959—present)
Nickname Falcões (Falcons)
Motto "Guerra ou paz tanto nos faz" (War or peace, it doesn't matter to us)
Anniversaries October 4, 1958
Lt. Col. Rocha
Badge Diving Falcon
Aircraft flown
Fighter F-86 Sabre (1958—1980)
Fiat G-91 (1965—1974)
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Trainer T-33 Silver Star (1961—1970)
T-38 Talon (1976—1980)

201 Squadron "Falcões" (Esquadra 201) is a fighter squadron of the Portuguese Air Force, operating the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Roles and missions

201 Sqn has as its primary mission the execution of air defense operations and conventional attack:


The origins of 201 Squadron "Falcões" date back to 50 Squadron "Falcões", based at Ota (then designated Air Base 2), operating the F-86F Sabre. On September 11, 1958 the squadron's designation was changed to 51 Squadron and it was later transferred to Air Base 5, in Monte Real, on October 4, 1959.

On August 15, 1961, eight F-86F fighters were deployed to Guinea-Bissau until October 1964, during which they flew 577 sorties, of which 430 were ground-attack missions.

From 1961 to 1970 51 Squadron also operated five T-33 AN Silver Star aircraft; having also operated the Fiat G-91 R4 from November 1965 to 1974. They were used in the transition of pilots operating in the Portuguese African colonies. From 1976 to 1980 the squadron additionally operated six T-38A Talon training aircraft which were transferred to 103 Squadron in July 1980.

In 1978 the 51 Squadron designation was changed to 201 Squadron.

The F-86F Sabre ended its service in the Portuguese Air Force officially with the deactivation of 201 Squadron on July 31, 1980.

In 1981, 302 Squadron, to which the missions of tactical air support for maritime operations (TASMO) and air interdiction were assigned, was activated and the squadron continued to serve with the traditions of the "Falcões" squadron.

201 Squadron was reactivated in October 1993, with aerial defense as its mission, the first F-16 Fighting Falcon arriving in June 1994. In 1997 the squadron initiated its qualification in air-to-ground missions and in July 1998 it was attributed the primary mission of air defense operations and close air support and air interdiction as secondary missions. In 1999, the tactical air support for maritime operations (TASMO) was also assigned as one of its secondary missions.


Notable pilots

  • Captain António Roque: first Portuguese pilot to reach 1000 flight hours in F-16s (1999)


  • Operation Allied Force (the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia) (March 23, 1999 — June 10, 1999)
    201 Squadron was deployed to Italy with a detachment of three F-16s. Since these aircraft were not converted to MLU standards, they were restricted to combat air patrol (CAP) missions during the conflict.
  • Exercise Red Flag (2000)
    The Portuguese detachment consisted of six F-16s.
  • Operation Baltic Air Policing (November 1, 2007 — December 15, 2007)
    201 Squadron participated in patrolling the skies of the Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia) with four F-16 A Block 15 along with two F-16 AM of 301 Squadron.

See also

External links

  • 201 Squadron information at the Portuguese Air Force official website
  • website produced by the 201 Pilots (Portuguese)
  • Unofficial website dedicated to 201 Squadron (Portuguese)
  • PoAF participation in the Baltic Air Policing '07, Portuguese Air Force official website dedicated to the operation
  • , squadron information at
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