The Air Force Historical Archive


The Decree-Law 868/1976, published by the Council of the Revolution on December 28, created the Military Aviation Historical Archive, in Alverca, Lisbon outskirts, as part of the Air Museum. In 1981, on February 27, the Air Force General Chief Of Staff produced a Dispatch transferring the Historical Archive to the Transit Airfield nr. 1, the military terminal at Lisbon International Airport, with a new designation, the Air Force Historical and Central Archive. Initially, the main concern was to collect and preserve the high valuable historical documentation related to the presence of the Portuguese Air Force in Africa, between 1961 and 1975. But this concern was extended progressively to all the documentation from the different airbases and other units, some of them extinguished already at the time, as well as to collect and preserve some individual estates of a great historical value. After some changes, as result of Air Force different restructuring phases, on May 23, 1991, the General Chief Of Staff changed the designation to Air Force Historical Archive, under his personal command, as a Cultural Nature Organ, together with the Air Museum and the Air Force magazine “Mais Alto”. In 2009, as part of another restructuring phase, the Historical Archive lost the Cultural Nature Organ status and integrated the Air Force Documentation Service, on the dependency of the General Vice-Chief Of Staff, maintaining its mission. But, on May 10, 2013, due to its specific mission, the preservation of the Air Force Historical Heritage, the General Chief Of Staff produced the Dispatch 28/2013, returning to the previous status, as Cultural Nature Organ, and on his direct dependency. Since 1992, the Air Force Historical Archive is placed in Alfragide, Lisbon outskirts, inside the Air Force Headquarters, close to the General Chief Of Staff Office.


The primary mission of the Air Force Historical Archive is to retrieve, preserve, study, investigate and disseminate the historical and culturally relevant documents regarding the Portuguese aviation in order to preserve the memories and legacy of the Portuguese Air Force, since its origins (National Military Aeronautics).


The competences of the Air Force Historical Archive are:

  • Collect all the documentation produced by the Portuguese Air Force with recognized historical and cultural aeronautical value.
  • Collect and promote collecting the documental estates of historical and cultural aeronautical interest of entities or individuals related to the air force.
  • Process (Organization, Description and Cataloguing) all the document collection under its custody.
  • Propose cooperation protocols or agreements with the National and International Archives, with special relevance to the Military ones.
  • Produce documentary description instruments, such as catalogues, guides, road maps, inventories, and promote their disclosure.
  • Produce and cooperate with research works of relevant historical and cultural aeronautical interest.
  • Preserve and safeguard the heritage and the documentary collection, protecting them from potential aggressors.
  • Proceed to the dissemination of the Historical Archive.