Salvadoran Army

The Salvadoran Army (Spanish: Ejército Salvadoreño) is the land branch and largest of the Armed Forces of El Salvador. In 2006 the government of El Salvador approached the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador seeking assistance in modernising its army.[2]

Salvadoran Army
Ejército Salvadoreño
Badge of the Salvadoran Army.
CountryEl Salvador


The Football War

The Football War (also called The Soccer War or 100-hours War) was a term coined by Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński to describe a brief conflict between El Salvador and neighbouring Honduras. He argued that the war began after the rival nations traded wins during the qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. But this event was not the cause of the war. Tensions had been mounting between both nations for several years because of immigration and economic problems, resulting on the war in 1969. The soccer matches incidents just one of several events that happened during that time. Longstanding tensions between the countries were heightened by media reports on both sides, each accusing the other of hooliganism and violence toward their own football fans. On June 26, 1969, El Salvador dissolved all ties with Honduras, the events were used as a call for nationalist pride for both governments and the media.

On July 14 Salvadoran forces began moving rapidly into Honduras following a series of border clashes. Their progress halted after the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States brought heavy diplomatic pressure to bear on both governments in an effort to effect a cease-fire.

A ceasefire was ultimately negotiated and signed by July 18, with Salvadoran forces withdrawing from Honduras by August 2 following guarantees of safety for Salvadoran citizens in Honduras by the Honduran government.

The Salvadoran Civil War

By the late 1970s, longstanding socio-economic inequality, human rights violations and the unwillingness of the National Conciliation Party dictatorship to address these problems led to the growth of a social movement. The government responded by assassinating thousands of political opponents and massacring students and protestors on several occasions. The heavy handed response of the government signaled to those identifying with the social movement that peaceful solutions were futile, which led to the growth of an insurgency.

On 15 October 1979, the military government was deposed by a joint military-civilian government calling itself the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador or JRG. The JRG's policies were met with opposition from the military and economic elites and government repression increased, with tens of thousands of civilians being killed in 1980 and 1981 alone. This led to the formation of the FMLN, which brought on a twelve-year civil war.

The Iraq War

Up to 380 Salvadoran troops, mostly paratroopers, were deployed as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq between August 2003 and January 2009. They operated alongside the elite Spanish Legion in Najaf. While in Iraq, the Salvadoran contingent suffered 5 dead, and 20 wounded.[3]

Organizational structure

El Salvador is divided into 6 military zones, each of which has its own infantry brigade:

Furthermore, the army has the following units:

  • 1 Special Military Security Brigade consisting of 2 Military Police and 2 border security battalions,
  • 8 infantry detachments with 2 battalions,
  • 1 Engineer Command with of 2 battalions,
  • 1 artillery brigade with of 2 field artillery and 2 anti-aircraft battalions,
  • 1 mechanized cavalry regiment with 2 battalions, and the
  • Special Forces Command with 1 Special Operations Group, and 1 Anti-Terrorism Command.
  • 1 female soldiers battalion on the artillery brigade.


Infantry Weapons

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
P227Handgun GermanyAll its variants. Used By soldiers and special forces.
P226Handgun GermanyAll its variants including the Sig Sauer X Six SIG P226 X Six. Used By soldiers and special forces.
M9[4]Handgun United States
CZ 75[4]Handgun Czech Republic
92SB[4]Handgun Italy
FN P35[4]Handgun Belgium
IWI 941[4]Handgun Israel
G17[4]Handgun AustriaSalvadoran Army's Special Forces and Anti-terrorist Command. Variants that are used: Glock 17, Glock 17C, Glock 17L, Glock 17MB, Glock 17M.
Uzi[4]Sub-machine gun IsraelUzi submachine gun, Mini-Uzi.
Ingram MAC-10[4]Sub-machine gun United States
MP5[4]Sub-machine gun GermanyMP5SD3, MP5A3, MP5A2, MP5, MP5A1
HK33[4]Assault rifle GermanyIncluding HK53 variant
HK416[4]Assault rifle Germany
FN FNCAssault rifle Belgiumversions used: Standard" Model 2000 and Short" Model 7000, used by the Salvadoran Military Police and Paratrooper Battalion
M4Assault rifle United StatesM4 Carbine, Colt M4A1, Colt M4 (original 1993 version), M4 (Colt Model 933), Colt M4 (M162 sights, burst and full auto)
T65[4]Assault rifle Republic of China
M16[4]Assault rifle United StatesXM16E1, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3, M16A4, M16A1 with A2 handguards. M16A2 (Model 701, 703, 705 (Burst fire/single fire)), Model 711, Model 715 and Model 720 (Burst fire/single fire)). M16A2 Light Machine Gun (LMG). Some M16A1's have M16A2's brass defectors, XM16E1. M16A2 (Model 645), some M16A1's (also with the A2 handguards) have the M16A2 hand-grip. M16A1 with A2 handgrip A2 brass defectors. Also M16A1 with M16A2 handguards have M16A2 brass defectors and M16A1 handgrip.
IMI Galil[4]Assault rifle IsraelGalil AR, Galil SAR, Galil SAR339, Micro Galil, Galil ARM.
Galil ACEAssault rifle ColombiaACE 21, ACE 22, ACE 23 (5.56×45mm NATO), ACE 32 (7.62×39mm), ACE 52, ACE 53 (7.62×51mm NATO).
M14[4]Battle rifle United StatesUsed as ceremonial gun, still used in active service on the Salvadoran Army infantry divisions,
Heckler & Koch G3[4]Battle rifle GermanyG3A3, G3A4, G3KA4
M24Sniper rifle United States
M21Sniper rifle United StatesUsed in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Barrett M82Sniper rifle United StatesUsed in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Dragunov SVDSniper rifle RussiaUsed in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
M79[4]Grenade launcher United States
M203[5]Grenade launcher United Statesmounted in M16 Rifles (all its variants), M4's, M4A1's and CAR-15's (all its variants).
M60[4]General purpose machine gun United StatesM60, M60E2, M60B, M60C M60D. During the civil war some M60's were chopped from the front sights to give a CBQ capabilities.
M2HB[4]Heavy machine gun United States
HK21[4]General purpose machine gun Germany
FN MAG[4]General purpose machine gun Belgium
M249[4]light machine gun United StatesFirst-generation M249 SAW, M249 Paratrooper.
FN Minimi[4]light machine gun BelgiumMinimi Para, FN Minimi.
CAR-15 [4]Carbine United StatesColt Model 933, XM177, GAU-5/A (Colt Model 610), XM177E1 (Colt Model 609), XM177E2 (Colt Model 629), Colt Model 653 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 654 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 654 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 727 (M16A2 carbine), Colt Model 733 (M16A2 Commando), Colt Model 723 "M16A2 Carbine". M16A2 SMG Model 635, XM177-E2 (Colt Model 629), Model 933, Colt Model 629, Colt 9mm SMG DOE (Model 633, US Car 15 Carbine (Colt Model 607), US XM177E1 (Colt Model 619), US XM177E2 GAU-5/A/B (Colt Model 639)).
Colt Canada C7 rifleAssault rifle CanadaColt Model 715. Imported from Canada in the 2000s.
MPi-KMAssault rifle East GermanyUsed since 1992 by the special forces.
AK-47Assault rifle RussiaUsed since 1992 by the special forces.
AKMAssault rifle RussiaUsed since 1992 by the special forces.
Pistol Mitralieră model 1963/1965Assault rifle RomaniaRecovered from Gang members.
Diemaco C7A1 LSWLight Machine Gun CanadaColt Model 715. Imported from Canada in the 2000s.
AK-63Assault rifle HungaryUsed Since 1992.
Steyr AUGAssault rifle AustriaUsed Since the 1990s by the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.

The Salvadoran Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force use the same kind of small arm types. Also it uses, telescopic sights, Aimpoint T2 Micro, Ohuhu OH-RG-SC Reflex Sights (panoramic sights), EOTech EXPS 3-0 sights, Barska Holographic Reflex Red Dot Sight, Ozark Rihno Tactical Sights, Trijicon MRO-C sights, EOTech 512..A65 sights, Vortex Optics StrikeFire II sights, Burrist Fast BFire3, Tasco Red Dot Sights, CVLIFE Optics Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5x40e red and green illuminated crosshair mount sights in every kind of assault rifle and rifle the every military branch of the Salvadoran armed forces usage.


Note: Sources are circa 1988, while some equipment listed may no longer be in service.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles
AML 90[6]Armoured Car6 [1][7] France
UR-416[6]Wheeled APC6[1] Germany
M3 Scout Car[6]Wheeled APC5 United States
CashuatAPC41 El Salvador/ United StatesBased on a Dodge M37. Armour kits and turrets purchased from the United States and applied in El Salvador[8]
VCTA2Tank Hunter, created by the Salvadoran Military Forces38 El Salvador
BC7A1APC4 El SalvadorArmed with two HS 404 20mm cannons. Also used as Anti-Air vehicle, created by the Salvadorian Military
M113[6]APC20 United States
CJ-8 (Scrambler) [6]Armoured Carunknown United States
M3A1[6]Half-track5 United States
HMMWVLight Armoured Car50[7] United States
Utility Vehicles
F-Series[9]medium-duty commercial vehicleunknown JapanPart of a fleet of 45 new vehicles.
D22[9]pick upunknown JapanPart of a fleet of 45 new vehicles.
AIL Storm[10]Light Utility Vehicle38[1] Israel
2011 Ford RangerLight Utility Vehicle37[11] United States
Jeep CJ[10]Light Utility Vehicle United States
M151[10]Light Utility Vehicle United States
Dodge M37[10]Light Utility Vehicle United StatesMostly converted to Cashuats.[10][8]
M35 truck[10]Medium cargo truck45 United States
M809 truck[10]Heavy cargo truck United States
MAN 630 truck[10]Heavy cargo truck Germany

[10] [8] [6]


M19[1]60mm306 United States
M29[12]81mm151[1] United States
M74[12]120mm YugoslaviaKept in storage.
UB M-52[12]120mm YugoslaviaKept in storage.
Field Artillery
M101[12]105mm8[1] United States
M102[12]105mm24[1] United States
M56[12]105mm18[1] YugoslaviaM101 copy produced in Yugoslavia
105/14 Model 56[13]105mm14 ItalyPack Howitzer
M114[12]155mm6 United States
Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Zastava M55[12]20mm31[1] YugoslaviaHispano-Suiza HS.804 copy.
M55 (Self-propelled)[12]20mm4 YugoslaviaTruck or half-track mounted M-55.
TCM-20[12]20mm4[1] IsraelTwin Hispano-Suiza HS.404s on towed pedestal mount.

[12] [13]


  1. "El Salvador". Military Technology World Defence Almanac. Bonn : Wehr & Wissen: 60. 2005. ISSN 0722-3226.
  2. Itamar Eichner (March 20, 2006). "El Salvador seeks to copy IDF model".
  3. "El Salvador withdraws last soldiers from Iraq". USA Today. February 7, 2009.
  4. "Latin American Light Weapons National Inventories". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  5. World Armies 2008. Jane's Information Group.
  6. " > El Salvador > Appendix".
  7. "Más dinero para el Ejercito salvadoreño". January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  8. "Jane's VAL Light Assault Vehicle Cashuat". Jane's Information Group.
  9. "23NOV2018 MDN ENTREGO VEHICULOS A FT". YouTube. November 23, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  10. "Jane's Military Vehicles and Logistics – El Salvador". Jane's Information Group.
  11. "2012 News - Embassy of the United States San Salvador, El Salvador". January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  12. " > Index of El Salvador Military Equipment".
  13. "105/14 Model 56 105 mm Pack Howitzer". Forecast International. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2009.


  • "El Salvador". Military Technology World Defence Almanac. Bonn : Wehr & Wissen: 60. 2005. ISSN 0722-3226.
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