Argentine Armed Forces Strengthen Aerial Capacity in Joint Exercise “Larus 16”

Argentine Armed Forces Strengthen Aerial Capacity in Joint Exercise “Larus 16”

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
July 19, 2016

Troops from the three branches of the Argentine Armed Forces
strengthened their aerial capabilities in the “Larus 16” exercise, conducted
between May 23rd and June 3rd at the Comandante Espora Naval Air Base in the
province of Buenos Aires. “Larus 16” is part of the annual exercise plan organized by
the Training and Enlistment Command (CAA, for its Spanish acronym) of the
Argentine Air Force (FAA), which is responsible for airspace defense tactics
and strategies. "The goal of Larus is to train and evaluate qualified
personnel from the institution in air defense tasks such as close-fire air
support, aerial resupply, and combat interception procedures," Commodore
César Grando, head of the FAA’s Institutional Communications Department, told
Diálogo. To improve the capabilities of the FAA's weapons systems,
the Larus 16 exercise included the participation of units from the Argentine
Army (for air drop and paratrooper missions) and Navy (for search and rescue of
crew members, and air drop and paratrooper missions). "The exercise allows us to integrate the diverse
capabilities of the armed services, encouraging joint military action and
strengthening mutual knowledge for fast and accurate decision-making,"
Cdre. Grando said. Exchange among the Armed Services On the morning of May 23rd, Commodore Fernando Rubio,
director of the Larus 16 exercise, welcomed participants to the Comandante
Espora Naval Air Base. Among them, were members of the FAA Special Operations
Group; the Air Space Surveillance and Control Group; and Air Brigades I, II,
III, IV, VI, VII, and IX . The Army's 4th Paratrooper Support Company and Naval
infantry also took part. The service members also used the IA-63 Pampa trainer
aircraft from the Sixth Air Brigade, based at Tandil in the province of Buenos
Aires, the IA-58 Pucará twin-engine turboprop from the 3rd Air Brigade, based
at Reconquista in the province of Santa Fe, and the C-130 Hercules tanker from
the First Air Brigade, based at El Palomar in the province of Buenos Aires. The A-4AR Fightinghawk attack aircraft, the Bell 212
transport helicopter, the Fokker F-27 twin-engine turboprop passenger aircraft,
and the DH6 Twin Otter utility aircraft were also used in the exercise. Training Assignments The service members completed various assignments during the
two-week exercise. "The IA-63 Pampa and the IA-58 Pucará fighter aircraft
squadrons carried out fighter aircraft runs simulating attacks on ground
targets," Cdre. Grando said. He added that the fighter planes also
performed training for air-to-ground and air-to-air firing. "Using the Hercules C-130, we did drills dropping the
Air Force Special Operations team, simulating situations in which crews are
ejected," Cdre. Grando said. "We also practiced resupply by dropping
materials and supplies for the participating forces and by dropping
air-transported troops from the Army and the Marines." The Larus 16 exercise also put into practice direct aerial
defense, employing a mobile radar and interceptor aircraft responsible for
defending a specific material target, Cdre. Grando said. Meanwhile, the Army's 4th Paratrooper Support Company
trained in supporting paratroopers from the Rapid Deployment Force, an Army
unit that operates in emergency situations. "The Company was also responsible for preparation and
air supply with A22 containers, as well as dropping heavy air cargo, including
artillery ammunition platforms and a 12-foot platform for a Mercedes Benz 230
G-Class SUV," the Argentine Army reported in a statement. "After the drop, paratroopers jumped
using the manual release [modality]." In addition, the Army mobilized the following units to lend
support to Larus 16: the Army's 3rd Division, the 603 Commando Company, the
School of Airborne Troops and Special Operations, the Army Transport Company,
and the 4th Air Transport Brigade. Mission Accomplished On June 3rd, various military authorities arrived at the
Comandante Espora Naval Air Base for the closing ceremony of the Larus 16
exercise. Brigadier Major Oscar Charadía, Commander of the CAA; and
Brigadier Pedro Girardi, chief of staff of the CAA, were present at a
search-and-rescue assignment carried out by the Fokker F-27 in the area of
Bahía Blanca. They also observed a bombing exercise carried out by the IA-58. At the conclusion, Cdre. Rubio praised the efforts of the participants in
completing their assignments. "This is an experience for everyone, from
the gunsmith to the pilot and the fire controlman," he said, according to
an FAA statement. Brig. Maj. Charadía also congratulated all the participants
for the activities. "I bring you greetings from the chief of the Air Force
Staff [Brigadier Enrique Víctor Amrein] for the work you've done," he
said. "As commander, I am proud of everything you have accomplished."
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