Flying with Paraguay’s Moros

Flying with Paraguay’s Moros

By Dialogo
November 03, 2014




The Moros, which are the symbol of the Paraguay’s Third Fighter Squadron, were the most warlike among the Guarani tribes and were known for never letting anyone breach their borders. The unit’s routines are especially focused on the training of new fighter pilots, conducting aerial target practice missions, use of mounted machine guns, missiles and bombs, in addition to operational missions where the squadron may be required, such as for escort duty, isolated attacks and in the areas of armed reconnaissance, interceptions and combat air patrols.

With the authorization of Paraguay’s President, we had the opportunity to fly in the AT-27 planes used by the Aero Tactical Group (GAT). As soon as the call to action sounded, the pilots on duty ran to the airplanes that were armed and supplied on the airstrip. They wore vests with survival materials and a pistol for self-defense in the event they were ejected over an area where there the extremist Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) or drug traffickers were present. Each plane was armed with two FN HMP capsules and two M3, 12.7mm machine guns, with 250 rounds each.

Later, after the planes departed Asunción, flying in formation, they set course to the East until they crossed the Paraguay River. When air defense control spotted the target on radar, they turned to intercept in such a way that the unknown aircraft could not detect the interceptors. This occurred over the region of the Chaco Paraguayo.

Positioning themselves behind and below the plane to be intercepted, using a technique to police the airspace known as “Distance Reconnaissance,” the pilot of one of the planes identified the aircraft’s registration and sent it to CIVA (the agency responsible for controlling and monitoring the nation’s airspace), which confirmed that the craft had not filed a flight plan.

While one of the planes continued to accompany the craft discreetly at a safe distance and in a favorable position for possible engagement, the leader approached the suspect aircraft, arriving at an interrogation position on the left (at 9 o'clock), staying near the wing and became visible to the pilot of the suspect aircraft. At this time, he showed the craft a plate with a radio frequency on it, and began to question the other pilot using scripted phrases in both Spanish and Guaraní.

After checking generic information such as its origin, destination, occupants and cargo, the fighter pilot confirmed that the suspect craft was an irregular airplane, and ordered it to turn around to Asunción for a forced landing at Silvio Pettirossi airport and subsequent investigation by the competent security agencies.

During the remainder of the flight, the intercepting fighter planes remained vigilant while accompanying the intercepted aircraft at a distance until the craft was finally forced to land. Once the suspect craft touched down on the landing strip, the pilots peeled off to the right, descended, approached the airstrip and initiated landing procedures.

While we were taxiing back to the hangers, all of the GAT pilot officers were already gathered on the airstrip waiting to meet the first team of Brazilian journalists to fly with the unit, a beautiful example of cordiality and brotherhood. In unison and in the tradition of fighter pilots, they shouted, “ à la chasse! Bordel!”


It is with these and other operations that the Paraguayan Air Force keeps alive in its young pilots the spirit of the Heroes of Chaco
. While the FAP conducts these operations, it anxiously waits for the technical and political decisions that will, at last, restore its combat capabilities.

Note: Hours after the interception mission that we had the opportunity to fly, a television channel in Paraguay showed images of drug trafficking planes discarding it drug cargo mid-flight. We discovered that the drug traffickers learned that the Paraguayan Air Force was conducting an operation at the time, and that Tucano planes had been seen escorting an aircraft to the Asunción airport. Not knowing that it was an exercise, the pilots became afraid of being intercepted by the FAP and arrested upon landing.




The Moros, which are the symbol of the Paraguay’s Third Fighter Squadron, were the most warlike among the Guarani tribes and were known for never letting anyone breach their borders. The unit’s routines are especially focused on the training of new fighter pilots, conducting aerial target practice missions, use of mounted machine guns, missiles and bombs, in addition to operational missions where the squadron may be required, such as for escort duty, isolated attacks and in the areas of armed reconnaissance, interceptions and combat air patrols.

With the authorization of Paraguay’s President, we had the opportunity to fly in the AT-27 planes used by the Aero Tactical Group (GAT). As soon as the call to action sounded, the pilots on duty ran to the airplanes that were armed and supplied on the airstrip. They wore vests with survival materials and a pistol for self-defense in the event they were ejected over an area where there the extremist Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) or drug traffickers were present. Each plane was armed with two FN HMP capsules and two M3, 12.7mm machine guns, with 250 rounds each.

Later, after the planes departed Asunción, flying in formation, they set course to the East until they crossed the Paraguay River. When air defense control spotted the target on radar, they turned to intercept in such a way that the unknown aircraft could not detect the interceptors. This occurred over the region of the Chaco Paraguayo.

Positioning themselves behind and below the plane to be intercepted, using a technique to police the airspace known as “Distance Reconnaissance,” the pilot of one of the planes identified the aircraft’s registration and sent it to CIVA (the agency responsible for controlling and monitoring the nation’s airspace), which confirmed that the craft had not filed a flight plan.

While one of the planes continued to accompany the craft discreetly at a safe distance and in a favorable position for possible engagement, the leader approached the suspect aircraft, arriving at an interrogation position on the left (at 9 o'clock), staying near the wing and became visible to the pilot of the suspect aircraft. At this time, he showed the craft a plate with a radio frequency on it, and began to question the other pilot using scripted phrases in both Spanish and Guaraní.

After checking generic information such as its origin, destination, occupants and cargo, the fighter pilot confirmed that the suspect craft was an irregular airplane, and ordered it to turn around to Asunción for a forced landing at Silvio Pettirossi airport and subsequent investigation by the competent security agencies.

During the remainder of the flight, the intercepting fighter planes remained vigilant while accompanying the intercepted aircraft at a distance until the craft was finally forced to land. Once the suspect craft touched down on the landing strip, the pilots peeled off to the right, descended, approached the airstrip and initiated landing procedures.

While we were taxiing back to the hangers, all of the GAT pilot officers were already gathered on the airstrip waiting to meet the first team of Brazilian journalists to fly with the unit, a beautiful example of cordiality and brotherhood. In unison and in the tradition of fighter pilots, they shouted, “ à la chasse! Bordel!”


It is with these and other operations that the Paraguayan Air Force keeps alive in its young pilots the spirit of the Heroes of Chaco
. While the FAP conducts these operations, it anxiously waits for the technical and political decisions that will, at last, restore its combat capabilities.

Note: Hours after the interception mission that we had the opportunity to fly, a television channel in Paraguay showed images of drug trafficking planes discarding it drug cargo mid-flight. We discovered that the drug traffickers learned that the Paraguayan Air Force was conducting an operation at the time, and that Tucano planes had been seen escorting an aircraft to the Asunción airport. Not knowing that it was an exercise, the pilots became afraid of being intercepted by the FAP and arrested upon landing.

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