Portuguese Air Force in Combat – Counterinsurgency (COIN)

Information kindly supplied by former PoAF T6-G pilot Joao M. Vidal

From 1961 to 1975, Portugal used more than a hundred T-6Gs, also in the counterinsurgency role, during the Portuguese Colonial War. During this war, almost all the Portuguese Air Force basesย and airfields in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea had a detachment of T-6Gs

Portuguese T6 Harvard “Bombed up”

The aeroplanes had a lot of different armament choices:
– Four Browning 7.7 machine guns (ex-Hurricanes and Spitfires of our ancient fleet).
– Two Matra LR 361 rocket launchers each with 36 S.N.E.B. T/447 37mm. rockets
– Two 50kgs plus six 15kgs bombs as normal load.
– Two 100 Liters/80 Kg. napalm containers.
– Guns and bombs aiming sight were a French S.F.O.M. 83A.

Harvard with gun




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Above – T-6G ex s/n 51-14837, delivered to Armรจe de l’Air on January 1958 used in Algeria with EALA/18/72 (Escadrille d’Aviation Lรฉgรจre d’Appui), then to FAP on 1961. Crashed in Toto, Angola on March 8 1968, on take off due to engine failure, killing one.

Josรฉ Fonseca –ย Among many others Canadian Cars & Foundry (CCF) Harvard IV that I was flying in fire missions at ex-Portuguese Mozambique between August 1969 and August 1971, as a Portuguese Air Force ( F.A.P.) Pilot Officer and Flying Officer later on, “1741” was the aeroplane were I made most of my 1000 operational flying hours during the two years I spent in that ancient Portuguese territory.ย After Elementary Flight Instruction in D.H.C.-1 Chipmunk ( at B.A.7 ) and Basic Flight Instruction in Cessna T-37C (at ย B.A.1 ) I was then designated to close air support missions.

I was then sent to Mozambique. Arriving there I had been assigned to AB6 (Nova Freixo) and frequently detached to AM61 (Vila Cabral) or AM62 (Marrupa).
The operative armed T-6 I flew there in combat missions were:
CCF4-425 // 52-8504 // F.A.P. 1727
CCF4-426 // 52-8505 // F.A.P. 1750
CCF4-432 // 52-8511 // ย F.A.P. 1782
CCF4-451 // 52-8530 // F.A.P. 1751
CCF4-483 // 52-8562 // F.A.P. 1753
CCF4-507 // 52-8586 // F.A.P. 1763
CCF4-510 // 52-8589 // F.A.P. 1735
CCF4-541 // 53-4622 // F.A.P. 1780
CCF4-548 // 53-4629 // F.A.P. 1741 <<<
CCF4-551 // 53-4632 // F.A.P. 1786