Members of the Brazilian Army, Air Force, and Brazilian Navy conducted Joint Exercise (EXCON) Tápio 2023 with members of the New York Air National Guard, August 16-27. Participants conducted combat search and rescue activities around Campo Grande Air Base (BACG), in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
“EXCON Tápio promotes mutual understanding, trust, and interoperability among participants, converging efforts to increase the capability of the Brazilian Armed Forces,” Brazilian Air Force Major General Eric Breviglieri, commander of BACG and director of the exercise, told Diálogo.
“We conducted 200 sorties and accumulated more than 900 flight hours, demonstrating the tireless commitment of our airmen and the unwavering desire to improve our operational skills,” Maj. Gen. Breviglieri said.
This year’s activity brought together some 700 Brazilian military personnel, 13 squadrons, 26 operational units, 16 interrelated military organizations, and some 30 aircraft, including A-29 Super Tucano and A1-M fighters, H-60 Black Hawk and H-36 Caracal helicopters, and the E-99 radar aircraft, the Brazilian Air Force Agency Agência Força Aérea reported.
In turn, 100 U.S. airmen took part in the exercise. “Most of them came from the 106th Rescue Wing, which specializes in search and rescue operations,” the New York National Guard said in a statement. The 106th Wing mobilized two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and one HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft for the training. It also sent “members of the security forces squadron and intelligence elements to participate,” the statement said.
The helicopters were transported to Campo Grande aboard two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft piloted by members of the New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing, the Defense Flash News YouTube channel reported.
U.S. and Brazilian service members also practiced Forward Area Refueling Point exercises, designed to provide fuel when traditional refueling options are not viable. Fly Away Security (FAS) training was also carried out. “FAS missions are conducted by security forces to protect crews and aircraft in hostile environments,” Defense Flash News reported.
According to Maj. Gen. Breviglieri, EXCON Tápio 2023 is the largest irregular warfare training exercise in Latin America. In its sixth edition, the exercise sought to mature and develop joint tactics in a dynamic environment, “with a large number of elements on the ground and a simulation of the movement of opposing forces,” he said.
For Brazilian Air Force Major Raphael Lopes Rosa, an EXCON coordinator, the exercise provided realistic simulations and complex challenges, improving participants’ skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, and strategic adaptation.
“This initiative not only improves operational readiness, but also strengthens the ability to respond in challenging contexts,” Maj. Rosa told Agência Força Aérea.