Argentine Special Operations Forces Promote Interoperability in the Castor V Joint Exercise

Argentine Special Operations Forces Promote Interoperability in the Castor V Joint Exercise

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
July 27, 2016

Special Operations Forces from the Argentine Army, Navy, and
Air Force carried out the Castor V joint exercise between June 9th and 17th at
the Baterías Naval Infantry Base in the province of Buenos Aires. In the exercise’s fifth edition, Argentine military members
perfected their ability to carry out different missions, such as raids on
targets, infiltrations, extractions, and parachute jumps. "Close to 200 Special Operations troops and another 300
personnel in various operational support roles participated," Captain
Miguel Portela, joint-training officer of the Operational Command of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff of the Argentine Armed Forces, told Diálogo. Castor V was carried out by Argentina’s Joint Special
Operations Group, composed of units from the three armed services: the Navy’s
Amphibious Command Group and Tactical Divers Group; the 601st, 602nd and 603rd
Commando Companies; the Army 601st Special Forces Company and Special
Operations Forces Support Company; and the Air Force Special Operations Group.
According to Capt. Portela, the objective of the exercise
was to integrate three dimensions: verifying plans and doctrines,
interoperability between the different armed services, and exchanging
information, which strengthens trust. "The Castor exercise highlights joint military action
as basic and essential criteria for obtaining our maximum operational
capabilities," Capt. Portela said. "We understand that to achieve greater
efficiency in terms of resource use and goal attainment, each specific armed
service should be directed under a single command with unified procedures and
mutual support criteria." Integrated Training The Castor V exercise began with integrated training, where
the different troops gave presentations on specific techniques and shared their
experiences. They marched to the Naval Infantry's Instruction and Evaluation Center located inside the Baterías Base, and were divided into three platoons. They practiced firing rifles at the shooting range; ascending, descending, and rappelling from a multipurpose tower; and diving in an indoor swimming pool. They then moved to the inner harbor at the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base, where they toured the sea fleet and were instructed in amphibious techniques, according to an Argentine Navy statement. The activities continued at the Comandante Espora Naval Air
Base, located in Bahía Blanca, in the province of Buenos Aires, where they
practiced parachute and amphibious infiltration. "On board an Army CASA
C-212 aircraft, and an Air Force Fokker F-27, they deployed to the Ibsen grove
area, where they jumped from various altitudes using manual and automatic
release," the Argentine Navy reported. Service members also carried out high altitude-high opening
jump techniques to transport men and supplies; boat operations; and fast rope
descents from a helicopter, Capt. Portela added. Hostage Rescue The Castor V participants created a plan in response to a
hypothetical situation designed by military strategists. "The situation they were given was the rescue of
non-combatants in occupied territory, within the framework of a conventional,
low-intensity armed conflict," Capt. Portela said. To complete the rescue, service members used various
techniques and tactics, such as infiltration, air and amphibious extraction,
urban combat, reconnaissance, and direct action. "The experience of Castor is incredibly enriching. Year
after year, the challenge and level of difficulty increases," Capt.
Portela said "[The exercise] is not only highly motivating, but also
allows us to properly measure and visualize the degree of training and
capabilities of these troops in joint military action." Faced with continual situational changes during the
exercise, service members also had to put into practice impromptu plans, the
captain said. "Making
real-time decisions on strategic matters and ethical questions regarding the
use of force, as well as with regard to the forces standing in the way of
achieving the objectives and the complex system of arbitration, gave this
exercise a unique realism," Capt. Portela concluded.
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