We report growth by molecular beam epitaxy and structural characterization of gallium-nucleated GaAs nanowires on silicon. The influences of growth temperature and V/III ratio are investigated and compared in the case of oxide-covered and oxide-free substrates. We demonstrate a precise positioning process for Ga-nucleated GaAs nanowires using a hole array in a dielectric layer thermally grown on silicon. Crystal quality is analyzed by high resolution transmission electron microscopy. Crystal structure evolves from pure zinc blende to pure wurtzite along a single nanowire, with a transition region.