Brazilian Air Force Receives Modernized Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Brazilian Air Force Receives Modernized Maritime Patrol Aircraft

By Dialogo
September 30, 2015

I think non-confidential information, from the exposition about "Operation Formosa", about the training exercises mentioned would be useful.
Ernesto George Diederichsen
Second Lieutenant Reserves R2, Cavalry.
Reserves R2, Cavalry

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) received the first modernized P-95 maritime patrol aircraft in September as part of an initiative to improve the capacity of its fleet. The modernization project was undertaken by AEL Sistemas, a Brazilian company that has been employed in the design, development, manufacturing, maintenance, and logistic support of military and space electronic systems for applications in aerial platforms, sea, and land for the past 30 years.

Conducted at the Dos Afonsos Aeronautical Material Park in Rio de Janeiro, the project’s focus is to replace the aircraft’s electronic and communications equipment and install new search radar in order to increase its operational capacity and extend its operational life by 15 additional years.

The analog stick was replaced by four modern multifunctional digital screens running software developed by AEL’s Brazilian engineers. The new systems enhance situational awareness and increase crew safety, while the integration of the Selex Seaspray 5000E modern radar, which weighs almost 50 kg, will allow for detection of ships up to 370 km away.

The P-95 aircraft can now track up to 200 targets simultaneously, perform land mapping and detect other aircraft. The primary mission of the "Bandeirulha," as it is called locally, is the aerial surveillance of Brazil’s territorial sea, but it is also essential for maritime traffic control, search-and-rescue operations, to identify environmental crimes, and carry out missions to combat illegal fishing and piracy.

The aircraft can also be equipped with two pods for unguided SBAT-70-type rockets to enable the performance of maritime interdiction missions and carry out attacks against small vessels. By updating the electronic systems, they will have increased capacity to perform air-clearing missions and operate as tactical air coordinators, making them an important aerial platform for signals intelligence missions as well.

The installation of an electro-optical sensor with thermal and laser rangefinder imaging systems is also anticipated to allow crews to perform night-vision searches and low-visibility search operations. This will enable the acquisition and designation of targets for Military Interdiction Operations such as anti-piracy and anti-terrorism missions, as well as capturing and sending live images to drives on land and to Brazilian Navy ships.

When they are delivered, the eight aircraft will be distributed among and operated by the Phoenix (2nd / 7th Aviation Groups) and Neptune (3rd / 7th Aviation Groups) squadrons, headquartered in the Florianopolis (Santa Catarina state) and Belém (Pará state) air bases and strategically located in the country’s north and south.

P-95 is the FAB’s new name for the EMB-111, a maritime patrol version of the internationally successful transport twin-engine C-95 Bandeirante, developed by Embraer. This type of aircraft is also used by the Chilean Navy.

It is expected that FAB will use the new aircraft during the UNITAS 56-2015 international exercise, which will be held off the coast of Brazil, representing a unique opportunity to train in interoperability with the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft and the Peruvian Navy’s Fokker 50.

In addition to being guardian of Brazil’s seas, the FAB’s Aviation Patrol has a long historical tradition within the country, as it was also responsible for the FAB’s "baptism of fire" during the South Atlantic phase of World War II.

*Brazilian journalist specializing in matters of national security.