Armed Forces of Bolivia

Military of Bolivia
Founded August 7, 1826 (1826-08-07)
Service branches Bolivian Army (Spanish: Ejército Boliviano)
Bolivian Navy (Spanish: Fuerza Naval Boliviana)
Bolivian Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Boliviana)
Bolivian National Police Force (Spanish: Policía Nacional de Bolivia)
Commander-in-Chief President Evo Morales
(Captain General of the Armed Forces)
Military age 18
Available for
military service
1,949,267, age 15–49 (2000 est.)
Fit for
military service
1,269,228, age 15–49 (2000 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
86,863 (2000 est.)
Active personnel 55,500[1]
Budget $659.2 million (2017)
Percent of GDP 1.76% (2017)
Foreign suppliers  Brazil
 United States
 People's Republic of China
 South Korea

The Armed Forces of Bolivia (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia) are official organizations responsible for the defence, both of external aggression and internal Bolivia. They also ensure security, stability, and protect the Bolivian Constitution.

The armed forces are constituted by:

  • Bolivian Army (including the military police)
  • Bolivian Air Force
  • Bolivian Navy

In addition, there are units formed by Bolivian Pre-militars (Premilitares), reserve corps, units serving mandatory, and the SAR-FAB of emergency and rescue unit.

The current command corresponds to the Admiral Armando Pacheco Gutierrez.


The Bolivian Army (Ejército de Bolivia, EB) is the land branch of the armed forces of Bolivia. Together with the Bolivia army and air force Bolivia, is responsible for protecting Bolivia of internal, external threats and ensure the independence of this country. The Bolivian Army has around 55,500 men. There are six military regions (regiones militares—RMs) in the army. The Army is organized into ten divisions. The Army maintains a small fleet of utility aircraft, primarily to support headquarters.

Combat units directly under the Army general command

  • 1st Infantry Regiment Colorados (Presidential Guard), contains two 2 battalions: BI-201 and BI-202
  • BATCOM-251,
  • Gen. maintenance cen. no. 1
  • Transport batt. no. 1.
  • 1st National parks Security Regiment

Special forces command

The Special Forces command controls the following units:

  • 12th Ranger Regt. "MANCHEGO", Montero
  • 16th Infantry Regt. JORDAN, Riberalta (Special Forces)
  • 18th Parachute Infantry Regiment VICTORIA "Army Special Troops Training Center", Cochabamba
  • 24th Ranger Regiment (Mountain) MÉNDEZ ARCOS, Challapata

Army aviation command

Army aviation company 291 (La Paz), army aviation company 292 (Santa Cruz)

  • 291st Cavalry Group (La Paz)


The Bolivian Army has six military regions (regiones militares—RMs) covering the various Departments of Bolivia:

  • RM 1, La Paz, most of La Paz Department: 1st Army Division, 297th MPB C.L.Saavedra (Military Police battalion),BE-296 CNL R.C.Zabalegui(ecological batt.),BE-297 (ecolog. batt.), BATLOG-1 (Logistics btn.),army aviation company 291 C.L.Cordoba, Mili. hospital no. 1, Military Police School, Army Equestrian Center, Military College of Bolivia "COL Gustavo Villaroel Lopez", Army School of Intelligence, Army Engineers School MCAL Antonio Jose de Sucre, Army Signals and Communications School, Army Armor School, Army 1st Engineering Regiment CPN Felipe Ochoa "Army Engineering and Maintenance Center", Bolivian Army Military School of Music "LTCOL Antonio Patino", 2nd Armored Cavlary Regiment "Tarapaca"
  • RM 2, Potosí, covering the departments of Oruro and Potosi: 2nd and 10th ADs, 24th RR M.Arcos (ranger regt.),ADA-202 (a.a. group), Army Mountain School
  • RM 3, Tarija, consisting of Tarija Department and eastern Chuquisaca and southern Santa Cruz:3rd and 4th AD
  • RM 4, Sucre, covering the departments of Cochabamba and northern Chuquisaca: 7th Army Division, 272th MP Btn., BATLOG-2 (long.Batt), no2, Army Arsensals Cochabamba, Army Command and Staff College MSHL Antonio de Santa Cruz, Army NCO School "SGT M. Paredez", Army Artillery School, 18th PIR "Victoria" (Army Special Troops Training Center), Army NCOs and Warrant Officers Advance Studies Institute, Army Arms Applications School, 1LT Edmundo Andrade Military High School
  • RM 5, Cobija, encompassing the Pando Department and parts of La Paz and Beni departments: 6th AD, 16th IR Jordan (special forces),Army Jungle Operations School
  • RM 6, Santa Cruz, covering most of Santa Cruz Department: 5th and 8th ADs, BMP-273 R.Amezaga (Military Police), BE-298 (ecological batt.), 12th RR Manchego (ranger),BATLOG-3 (logist. batt.), 292 army aviation company, Bolivian Condores school (special forces), 6th IR

Army divisions

The army is organized into ten territorial divisions plus a mechanized division, each of which, with the exception of Viacha, occupy a region generally corresponding to the administrative departments, with some overlapping. These and their respective divisional headquarters and constituent units are:

  • 1st Mechanized Division, Viacha (La Paz Department): 1st Field Artillery Regiment "Camacho", 6th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 23th IR (Mechanized Infantry Training), 4th IR Tarapaca (Mech.) 5th ACR, 2nd ACR (Training), 1st Armor Regiment
  • 1st AD, Viacha (La Paz Department): 8th IR Ayacucho, RI 30 Murillo (mountain), RA 2 Bolivar, Bat.Ing. 2 G.F.Roman.
  • 2nd AD, Oruro: 21st IR Illimani (Mountain), RI 22 Mejillones, 25th RI (Mountain) Tocopilla, RC 8 Braun, 1st Artillery Regt. Camacho, Bat.Ing. 7 Sajama.
  • 3rd AD, Villamontes (Tarija Department): 5th IR Campero, RI 20 Padilla, RC 3 Aroma, RA 3 Pisagua, Bat.Ing. 1 Chorolque.
  • 4th AD, Camiri (Santa Cruz Department):, 6th Infantry Regiment Campos, RI 11 Boqueron, 1st Cavalry Regt. "E. Avaroa", RA 4 Bullian
  • 5th AD, Roboré (Santa Cruz Department): RI 13 Montes, RI 14 Florida, RI 15 Junin, RC 6 Castrillo, RA 5 Vergara
  • 6th AD, Trinidad: RI 17 Indepedencia, RI 29 Echevarria, RI 31 Rios,RI 32 Murguia, 2nd Cavalry Regt. Ballivan, 8th AR Mendez(reserve), Bat.Ing. 6 Riosinho.
  • 7th Army Division, Cochabamba (the largest):, 2nd Infantry Regiment "Marshal Antonio Jose de Sucre", 18th Parachute Infantry Regiment "Victoria" (Army Special Troops Training Center), RI 26 R.Barrientos (mech.) 29th PIR "CPT V.Ustariz" (airborne), RA 7 Tumusia, Bat.Ing.5 T.N.Ovando
  • 8th AD, Santa Cruz: RI 7 Marzana, RI 10 Warnes (mech.), RC 10 G.M.J.M. Mercado, RA 9 Mitre (reserve),Bat.Ing. 3 Pando.
  • 9th AD (Reserve), Rurrenabaque: the Division has been reduced to reserve status and its component units have been divided up between DE-1 and DE-6
  • 10th AD, Tupiz: 3rd IR "Juan Jose Perez", RI 4 Loa, RI 27 Antofagasta, 7th ACR Chichas (Armored Cavalry), RA 12 Ayohuma (reserve)

RI: infantry regiment RC: cavalry regiment RA: artillery regiment Bat.Ing.: battalion engineer

Army organized has ten divisions controlling the following units:

  • eight cavalry regiments, included two mechanized regiments
  • twenty-three infantry regiments included two airborne and two mountain
  • one recce.mechanized regiments and one armored regiments
  • two ranger regiments and one special forces regiments
  • six artillery regiments and plus three in reserve
  • one artillery and antiair group
  • one artillery and antiair Regiment
  • three military police battalion
  • three ecological battalion
  • two army aviation company
  • six engineer battalions
  • Plus logistical and instructional support commands
  • Presidential Guard (Colorado) infantry battalion under direct control of the army headquarters in La Paz's Miraflores district

The Army maintains a small fleet of utility aircraft, primarily to support headquarters.

Equipment of Army

Land Equipment

Bolivian army equipment[2]
Tanks 36 SK-105 Kurassiers
Reconnaissance vehicles 24 EE-9 Cascavel
Armoured Personnel Carriers 50 M113 armored personnel carriers with local upgrades], 24 EE-11 Urutu APC,24 M9 Half-track APC, 10 Cadillac Gage Commando V-150, 20 Mowag Roland local upgraded (Used by the military Police)
Artillery pieces and mortar 18 Type 54 122mm howitzers, 6 M101 105mm howitzers, 10 7.5 cm FK 18 howitzers, 6 Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 75mm howitzers. Mortars: M-120 120mm, M30 107mm mortars, 250 M29 81mm mortars,FM 81mm,W87 81mm, M-224 60mm mortars AA artillery: 16 2×37mm Type 65, 80 2×20mm Oerlikon 20 mm cannon K20, 50 MANPAD HN-5 AT weapons:rocket launchers RPG-7, 200 66mm M72A3 LAW, 90mm M20A1, 90mm M67 recoilless rifle, RCL 82mm Type 65/78, RCL 106mm M40A1,40 portable AT missile HJ-8AiB Red Arow
Transport TRANSPORT:DongFeng EQ 2081/2100,FEW C A1122J,Stayer 1491,16 Ford F-750,Unimog 416Dodge M-37 212 ton trucks, Engesa EE-15 trucks, Engesa EE-25 trucks, FIAT IVECO 619 5 ton trucksTACTICAL TRANSPORT VEHICLES:30 M988 HMMWV,40 Koyak local productionUTILITY TRANSPORT VEHICLES:Ford M151 jeep,CJ-5,CJ-7,Chrysler jeeep Wrangler,BJ 2020VJ, horses (still used by the Bolivian cavalry units) [2]
Small Arms HANDGUNS: FN-35,Glock 17, Beretta Model 92F, SM Model 10 (all 9mm), M1911A1 11,43 SMG: FMK 3, UZI, MAT 49 (all 9mm)Rifle: Galil AR, M16A1, M4A1, Steyr AUG A1, SA 80, all (5.56 mm), FN-FAL, SIG-542, SIG-510-4, (all 7.62mm), Type 56–2(ak-47),SNIPER: Dragunov SVD, Mauser model 86SR, Steyr SSG-69P1AM Rifles:Steyr HS 50 12.7mmMG: M60, FN-MAG 60–20, SIG MG710-3 (all 7.62mm), Type 56 LMGGL:Type 87 35mm, MM−1, M79, M203 (all 40mm) Shotguns:Remington 870 and 11–87.

Air Equipment

Aircraft Origin Function Versions In service[3] Notes
Robinson R44  United States Trainer R44 1
Beechcraft King Air  United States Utility, VIP C90 1
Fokker F27 Friendship  Netherlands Transport F27-MK200 1
Harbin Z-9  China Utility helicopter H425 6


Army officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel wear generally gray or, for tropical areas, gray-green service uniforms. Army fatigue uniforms were olive green, and combat uniforms were of US woodland pattern camouflage. The standard headgear for enlisted personnel is the beret bearing the national colors of red, yellow and green. Paratroops (paracaidistas) were distinguished by black berets, and Special Forces by green berets.

Air Force

See full article: Bolivian Air Force.

The Bolivian air force (Fuerza Aérea Boliviana, FAB) is the air branch of the armed forces of Bolivia. The Bolivian Air Force has nine air bases, located at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Puerto Suárez, Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Riberalta, and Roboré.

Major commands included the following:

  • General Command Systems Department in La Paz, equipped with sophisticated computers. In March 1989, FAB took a major step toward modernizing its force by inaugurating the
  • Group of Security and Defense of Air Installations (Grupo de Seguridad y Defensa de Instalaciones Aéreas—GSDIA); and GADA-91, GADA-92, GADA-93 and GADA-94.
  • Four air brigades with thirteen subordinate air groups.
    • First Air Brigade (El Alto):
      • Hunting air group 31 "G.J.Market": Fighter squadron 311,Executive squadron 310
      • Transport air group 71 "Gen.W.A.Rojas" (Military airlift TAM):Air squadron 710,Air squadron 711,Air squadron 712
      • Aerophotogrammetry National Service (NSS)
      • Bolivian Air Transport-TAB
      • Task Force "Black devils"
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-91
    • Second Air Brigade (Cochabamba):
      • Hunting air group 34 "P.R.Cuevas": Aerotactico squadron 340,Link training squadron 341
      • Group air search and rescue 51: Squadron helicopter 511
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-92
    • Third Air Brigade (Santa Cruz):
      • Hunting Air Group 32 "B.B.Rioja": squadron 321,squadron 320,squadron 327 (maintenance)
      • COLMILAV Training squadrons: primary squadron,basic squadron,squadron "NN" (prob.navigation)
      • Air group air reconnaissance and exploration 82(air base Puerto Suárez): 831 squadron
      • Air group 61 "Gen.L.G.Pereiera (air base Puerto Suárez): squadron 610
      • Task force "Red Devils" (air base The Trompillo-Robore)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-93
    • Fourth Air Brigade:
      • Group air reconnaissance and exploration 82 "Cap.A.V.Peralta" (air base Tarija): squadron 821
      • Air Group 63 "Tcnl.E.L.Rivera" (air base Villamontes): squadron 630
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-94

Units under direct control of the general command of the FAB

      • Tactical air group 62 (air base Riberalta): squadron 620
      • Air group 64: squadron (air base Cobija) 640
      • Transport air group 72 (air base Trinidad) : squadron 720
See full article: Bolivian Naval Force.

The Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana in Spanish), formerly Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana) is a naval force about 5,000 strong in 2008.[4] Although Bolivia has been landlocked since the War of the Pacific in 1879, Bolivia established a River and Lake Force (Fuerza Fluvial y Lacustre) in January 1963 under the Ministry of National Defense. It consisted of four boats supplied from the United States and 1,800 personnel recruited largely from the army. Bolivia's naval force was renamed the Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana) in January 1966, but it also has been called the Bolivian Navy (Armada Boliviana). It became a separate branch of the armed forces in 1963. Bolivia has large rivers that are tributaries to the Amazon which are patrolled to prevent smuggling and drug trafficking. There is also a Bolivian Naval presence on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, across which runs along the Peruvian frontier.

Landlocked Bolivia has not become reconciled with the loss of its coast to Chile, and the Navy exists to keep the hope of recovering its coast alive by cultivating a maritime consciousness. The Bolivian Navy takes part in many parades and government functions, but none more so than the Día Del Mar (Day of the Sea) in which Bolivia, every year, asks for the coast territories lost to Chile during the War of the Pacific (fought between Peru and Bolivia against Chile) from 1879 to 1884. This is still a sore point for Bolivia, influencing many modern-day political actions and trade decisions.


The Navy is organized into ten naval districts, with flotilla headquarters in Guaqui, Guayaramerín, Puerto Suárez, Riberalta, and San Pedro de Tiquina, and bases in Puerto Busch, Puerto Horquilla, Puerto Villarroel, Trinidad, and Rurrenabaque.

Naval vessels include several dozen boats, dozen or more of which are for riverine patrol, including the piranias, and riders, which are powerful river boats. In addition, Bolivia has several seagoing vessels, including the Santa Cruz de la Sierra (PR-51), and several flagged ships that sail with the permission of the "Capitanias Navales" Naval Registration Office. The Libertador Simón Bolívar, a ship acquired from Venezuela, use to navigate from its home port in Rosario, Argentina on the River Paraná. In 1993, the Navy was formally renamed the Naval Force (Fuerza Naval) and moved with the Bolivian Army under a single military authority.

Most of the officers are often educated in the Naval Academy where they graduate with a BS in Military and Naval Science, diploma accredited by the Military University and then they do other studies at the bachelor's degree and master's level. Argentina has their Naval Military Group in Bolivia advising at the highest level in naval strategy and tactics. Many Bolivian officers practice ocean sailing in Argentinean big naval ships. The Bolivian Navy has several Special Forces units to address both internal and external conflicts.

The Bolivian Naval Force covers the extensive river and lake Bolivian territory divided between the following functions Naval Districts, note that the names of these units are derived from the basin or region where they operate:

    • DN1 Primer Distrito Naval "BENI"- DN1 First Naval District "BENI"
    • DN2 Segundo Distrito Naval- "MAMORE"- DN2 Second Naval District "MAMORA"
    • DN3 Tercer Distrito Naval "MADERA" -DN3 Third Naval District "Madera"
    • DN4 Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA" -DN4 Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • DN5 Quinto Distrito Naval "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA" -DN5 Fifth Naval District "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"
    • DN6 Sexto Distrito Naval "COBIJA" -Sixth Naval District DN6 "COBIJA"
    • The Naval Service Areas:
      • AN 1 "COCHABAMBA" – Naval Area 1 "Cochabamba"
      • AN 2 "SANTA CRUZ" – Naval Area 2 "SANTA CRUZ"
      • AN 3 "BERMEJO" – Naval Area 3 "Bermejo"
      • AN 4 "LA PAZ" – Naval Area 4 "La Paz"
    • And the special units:
      • Fuerza de Tarea "Diablos Azules"- Task Force "Blue Devils"
      • Servicio de Inteligencia Naval – SINDA Naval Intelligence Service – SINDA
      • Grupo de Reacción Inmediata GRIN -Immediate Response Group GRIN
      • El Centro de Instrucción de Buceo en Altura- High Altitude Diving Training Center
      • Command Training Center Amphibians

Marine corps

The Marine component of the FNB originated with the creation of the Marine Battalion Almirante Grau in the early 1980s.This unit of 600 men is based on Tiquina naval base on Lake Titicaca.Later changes name to Marine Battalion Independence, based in Chua (Not to be confused with the Independence RI17 EB).At present this battalion maintains a similar number of troops including premilitares. Staff of this unit is part of Task Force Blue Devils or are stationed in various naval bases.There are currently seven infantry battalions which are distributed as follows:

  • Primer Distrito Naval "BENI"- First Naval District "BENI"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina I "Bagué"- 1st Marine Battalion "Bagué"
  • Segundo Distrito Naval "MAMORE"- Second Naval District "MAMORA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina II "Tocopilla"- 2nd Marine Battalion "Tocopilla"
  • Tercer Distrito Naval "MADERA"- Third Naval District "MADERA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina III "Mejillones"- Marine Battalion III "Mejillones"
  • Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA"- Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina IV "Alianza " -Marine Infantry Battalion IV "Alliance"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina Mecanizada VI "Independencia"- Marine Infantry Battalion Mechanized VI "Independence"
  • Quinto Distrito Naval "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"- Fifth Naval District "SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina V "Calama"- Marine Battalion V Calama
  • Sexto Distrito Naval "COBIJA"- Sixth Naval District "COBIJA"
    • Batallón de Infantería de Marina VII "Columna Porvenir"- Marine Battalion VII "Columna Porvenir"

This specialty is essentially similar to its counterpart in the Army, carrying out operations such as Important Persons Protection (IPP) Physical Security (SEF) or Patrol Facility (PAT), with additions such as signals or naval protocol.There Naval detachments of PM in all district headquarters or FNB Naval Area.But only have the following units at the Battalion:

  • AN 4 " La Paz "- AN 4 "La Paz"
    • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 1- 1st Naval Military Police Battalion
  • AN 1 "COCHABAMBA"- AN 1 "Cochabamba"
    • Batallón de Policia Militar Naval N° 2 "Carcaje"- 2nd Naval Military Police Battalion "Quiver"
  • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 3 -Naval Military Police Battalion No. 3
  • Cuarto Distrito Naval "TITICACA"- Fourth Naval District Titicaca
    • Batallón de Policía Militar Naval N° 4- Naval Military Police Battalion No. 4



The Bolivian Navy has a total of 173 vessels, mostly stationed on Lake Titicaca:

  • 1 Class PR-51
  • 6 class boats Cap. Bretel Bretel
  • 4 patrol boats lake
  • 32 Boston Whaler
  • 8 Piranha assault boats Mk.1
  • 3 Boats hospitals
  • 2 Transport of hydrocarbons
  • 2 Tanker Ships
  • 1 Transport
  • 1 Ship "Naval School"

Bolivia's navy operates one utility aircraft for the use of headquarters.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[3] Notes
Cessna 340  United States Utility 340 1


Since 1904 military service has been compulsory for all fit males between the ages of eighteen and forty-nine. In practice, however, budgetary limitations strictly limited the number of eligible men conscripted, and those traditionally tended to be mostly Indians. Beginning in 1967, conscripts were legally held on active duty for up to two years, but funds seldom permitted even a full year's service. Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and warrant officers, all of whom were volunteers, generally were drawn from mixed-blood cholos (those of Spanish and Indian descent). In the late 1980s, the service obligation was one year, and conscripts had to be at least nineteen years of age. The FF.AA. commander reported in early 1989 that the largest percentage of conscripts came from the middle class. One explanation for this change could have been the flocking of youths to the lucrative coca paste-making business. Military authorities in the Cochabamba area in particular began to experience growing difficulty in enlisting volunteers in the mid-1980s. Consequently, the military reportedly was resorting to pressganging eighteen-year-olds off the city streets to fill their annual quotas.

Training installations

Training installations include the Garras International Antinarcotics Training School (Escuela Garras del Valor) is a military training facility located in Bolivia, which trains military and law enforcement personnel from Bolivia and other Latin American countries in counternarcotics, intelligence, and counterinsurgency techniques.[5][6][7]

See also


  1. What is the total active duty personnel for Bolivia? – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  2. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  3. 1 2 "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, 15 January 2007.
  4. Carroll, Rory (28 August 2008). "Bolivia's landlocked sailors pine for the high seas". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  5. "United States promotes rule of law, transparency in the Americas". Embassy of the United States: Montevideo. 26 May 2005. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  6. "Andean Counterdrug Initiative: International Narcotics and Law Enforcement: FY 2002 Budget Justification". U.S. Dept. of State (official website). May 2001. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  7. Ledebur, Kathryn (4 September 2008). "New York Times Misleads Readers on Drug War in Bolivia". Media Accuracy on Latin America. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  • – Order of battle and list of equipment used by the military of Bolivia.

This article was adapted from the CIA World Factbook 2000.

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