Operation CANAMIGO

International Operation Name: N/A

International Operation Dates:  N/A

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  South America

Location:  Venezuela

Canadian Operation Name: Op CANAMIGO

Canadian Operation Dates: 1972/02/11 – 1972/06/11

Mission Mandate:

Ferry CF-5 aircraft to Venezuela and train Venezuelan Air Force personnel on operating and maintaining the aircraft

Mission Notes: 

Starting in 1968 Canada took delivery of the first of 115 F-5 Freedom Fighters, known in Canadian service as the CF-5 (officially the CF-116).  Because of force reductions and restructuring, a number of these aircraft were found to be surplus to Canadian requirements. In December 1971, 16 single seat CF-5As and 2 dual seat CF-5Ds, plus two new CF-5Ds were sold to Venezuela.

Part of the sales agreement included the provision that Canada ferry the aircraft to Venezuela and provide training on flying and maintenance to Venezuelan Air Force (VAF) personnel.  This became Operation CANAMIGO.  The first four aircraft were handed over to the VAF on 11 February 1972 at the Aircraft Maintenance Development Unit at CFB Trenton, where the aircraft had been stored, and promptly took off for Venezuela that day.  The official hand-over took place on 16 May.  Further flights took place on 12 April and 11 June – eight and six aircraft respectively - with CF-5 qualified pilots from across the Air Force ferrying the aircraft to Venezuela.  Eighteen aircraft were ferried in this manner.  The two new CF-5D aircraft were flown to Venezuela later, when they came off the production line.

Another aspect of Op CANAMIGO was the training provided to Venezuelan personnel.  Twenty-nine technicians and three pilots from the VAF were trained at 434 Squadron at CFB Cold Lake, while 3 pilots and 12 technicians, mainly from 434 Squadron deployed to Venezuela to provide instruction there. 


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