Military Expands Simulation of Pre-salt Attack
By Dialogo July 15, 2010
At the same time that the search for oil in the pre-salt region has been expanded beyond the area of the first discoveries, the Brazilian Navy, Army, and Air Force will start a military exercise next week along the country’s coastline from north to south, in order to demonstrate the armed forces’ capability to protect this underwater wealth.
Unlike the first version, conducted in 2008 and focused only on the southeast region, Operation Atlântico 2, which is scheduled to start on July 19th, will also cover the northeast region and, besides simulating threats to oil infrastructure, will also practice combating illegal fishing.
“This year we will conduct a much more complex operation, with a higher degree of realism,” Reuters was told by Rear Adm. Paulo Ricardo Medici, deputy chief of operations for the Naval Operations Command.
He added that the archipelagos of Fernando de Noronha and São Pedro e São Paulo, both off the northeast coast, will be included in the theater of operations for this year’s maneuvers.
“This inclusion of Fernando de Noronha is due to the fact that (the island) has a possible strategic use by enemy forces, in the event that we do not have military personnel in perfect control of the territory,” said Medici.
“(Fernando de Noronha) could be an important logistical support for any force that wanted to attack our territory,” he added. The area of São Pedro e São Paulo, according to the admiral, is already a constant target of vessels that illegally fish along the Brazilian coast.
The maneuvers will include the simulation of submarine attacks and of the occupation by enemy forces of an oil platform lent to the armed forces by Petrobras.
At an estimated cost of ten million reais, according to Medici, the war games will also involve the oil infrastructure of the Santos and Campos basins and energy installations, such as the nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis.
“This is a region that will require protection as we have more platforms operating,” said Medici, adding that Brazil is not facing any specific threats. “(But) we need to be prepared.”
Operation Atlântico 2 will mobilize ten thousand military personnel from the three branches of the armed forces. Warships, transport planes, and attack aircraft will also participate in the maneuvers.
Medici acknowledged the need to acquire new equipment in order to guarantee the protection of the Brazilian coast, especially new patrol and convoy ships.
“We have 8,500 kilometers of coastline. If you think about the fact that we need to protect this entire maritime coast, the need for more resources will become clear,” he stated.
However, he said that the addition of a nuclear-powered submarine to the Brazilian fleet, scheduled for 2020, will be essential for this task.
“When we obtain this (nuclear submarine) … no country in the world will have the courage or be in a condition to come near our coast,” he said.
Besides the nuclear-powered submarine, the result of an agreement with France that foresees the technology transfer of the vessel’s conventional portion, Brazil is also expected to acquire new multirole fighter planes for its air force.