Between August 28 and September 4, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense (MD, in Portuguese) coordinated Operation Poseidon 2021, through which, for the first time, helicopters and crews of the three-Armed Forces operated jointly in an interoperability exercise aboard the Brazilian Navy’s (MB, in Portuguese) multipurpose aircraft ship Atlântico (NAM, in Portuguese).
The joint exercise increases interoperability, fostering the development of doctrine that prioritizes and promotes unity among forces.
MD chief of Joint Operations, MB Admiral Petrônio Augusto Siqueira de Aguiar, explained that there was a similar training in 2020, however, it was with the ship anchored at sea. “Now, we moved on to a new phase, with the ship sailing. This is a noticeable difference for the captains, who need to qualify. We will complete other phases in the coming years,” he said.
Several activities were carried out aboard the Brazilian fleet’s flagship, including fast roping (aircraft infiltration techniques) and an exercise known in Portuguese as qualification and requalification in landing aboard (QRPB, in Portuguese). The latter consists of familiarizing aircraft and ship crews with landing and takeoff techniques on the deck of a moving ship.
Among the participants was Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) First Lieutenant Rodrigo Galardo, who took part in search and rescue operations during the 2019 Brumadinho disaster, in Minas Gerais, an unprecedented landslide in Brazil’s history.
The officer stressed the difficulties of landing on a moving ship in the middle of the ocean. “The biggest challenge is that we didn’t have a chance to simulate a flight like this before, so this is the first time we had to land on a moving surface. This is very new to us: being on the high seas with not much horizon and nothing steady to help with stabilization. So, this ends up being an added value approach,” reported 1st Lt. Galardo.
In addition to the above-mentioned activities, an aircraft storage exercise was carried out to reduce the space occupied by the helicopter, making it necessary to fold the propellers. Participants also worked on another activity known as “man overboard,” where service members on the ship prepared to rescue crew members who had gone overboard. Yet another exercise consisted of an aeromedical evacuation to transport wounded and sick service members and civilians.