Brazilian Air Force Conducts Irregular Warfare Operational Exercise

Brazilian Air Force Conducts Irregular Warfare Operational Exercise

By Taciana Moury
August 05, 2019

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) mobilized 600 service members and 50 aircraft, including airplanes and helicopters from about 30 air squadrons, to conduct the second edition of Operational Exercise (EXOP, in Portuguese) Tápio in the city of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. The activity took place April 23-May 17, 2019, at the 5th Wing, to prepare troops for irregular warfare, which is a conflict that doesn’t involve constituted states and their armed forces, but rather insurgent groups, paramilitary organizations, and resistance movements.

The goal of Preparation Command (COMPREP, in Portuguese), which created the exercise, was to train air and land resources in various aerial activities, in a realistic scenario. The characteristics of EXOP Tápio are similar to those found in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

During the 25 days of operations, participants carried out about 700 missions: including close air support, forward air control, forward air guidance, escort, aerial infiltration and exfiltration, combat search and rescue, and counter-air defense. The exercise used Brazilian Navy aircraft in addition to FAB aircraft.

Operational resources of the Brazilian Airborne Rescue Squadron, the Air Defense Brigade, and the Air Defense Groups, all from FAB, took part in the exercise. The Brazilian Army was present with service members from the Paratrooper Infantry Brigade and Western Military Command. “U.S. Air Force officers joined the exercise, predominantly during close air support activities,” said FAB Colonel André Luiz Alves Ferreira, co-director of the exercise and head of COMPREP’s Operational Preparation Control Division.

Night training

The 2019 edition stood out for the use of Composite Air Operation (COMAO) at night. COMAO involves various aircraft and squadrons in a single mission with simultaneous operations. “The operations included dozens of aircraft, most of them using night vision goggles — NVG. The results were excellent, demonstrating solid operational and doctrinal progress of our units,” said Col. André Luiz.

According to the Air Force Public Affairs Office, each COMAO carried out during Tápio involved at least 100 service members and up to 30 aircraft with different performance levels. The goal of the combined exercise is to integrate the aircraft in a synergic, safe, and complementary manner, considering doctrine and the characteristics of each aircraft.

FAB Lieutenant Colonel Luciano Antonio Marchiorato Dobignies, commander of the 2nd Squadron/10th Air Group-Pelican Squadron, emphasized the importance of night missions. “They enabled the improvement of Tactical Pre-Hospital Care [APHT, in Portuguese] to service members of the rescue team, a result of lessons learned during the previous edition of the exercise,” he said.

The Pelican Squadron participated with the SC-105 (C-295 SAR) aircraft, performing the Airborne Mission Commander role. “The goal was to support the Combat Search and Rescue Task Force for communication and coordination between resources, with the evader and higher command, for better situational awareness, enabled by the systems on board,” Lt. Col. Marchiorato said.

“Compared with the previous edition, the latest edition of Exercise Tápio was marked by the improvement of APHT techniques,” stated Lt. Col. Marchiorato. “Each service member had to take refresher classes and undergo a series of evaluations, starting with a theoretical test on APHT. [This was] followed by a hands-on workshop. They were then tested in an enemy resistance field simulation, in addition to a complete check, also conducted during the flight.”

According to Lt. Col. Marchiorato, EXOP Tápio is the most complete exercise to prepare service members on irregular warfare missions and has been essential to coordinate different participating aircraft, and standardize rescue teams. Col. André Luíz also emphasized that all tactical and technical trainings and planned procedures were met during EXOP Tápio 2019.

Col. André Luíz also pointed out that the 2019 edition carried out more cargo and personnel launches and increased the use of doctrine by conducting advancement classes, workshops, and an intermediary meeting to analyze results. “EXOP Tápio enables us to train for realistic tactical scenarios,” the officer concluded.

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) mobilized 600 service members and 50 aircraft, including airplanes and helicopters from about 30 air squadrons, to conduct the second edition of Operational Exercise (EXOP, in Portuguese) Tápio in the city of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. The activity took place April 23-May 17, 2019, at the 5th Wing, to prepare troops for irregular warfare, which is a conflict that doesn’t involve constituted states and their armed forces, but rather insurgent groups, paramilitary organizations, and resistance movements.

The goal of Preparation Command (COMPREP, in Portuguese), which created the exercise, was to train air and land resources in various aerial activities, in a realistic scenario. The characteristics of EXOP Tápio are similar to those found in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

During the 25 days of operations, participants carried out about 700 missions: including close air support, forward air control, forward air guidance, escort, aerial infiltration and exfiltration, combat search and rescue, and counter-air defense. The exercise used Brazilian Navy aircraft in addition to FAB aircraft.

Operational resources of the Brazilian Airborne Rescue Squadron, the Air Defense Brigade, and the Air Defense Groups, all from FAB, took part in the exercise. The Brazilian Army was present with service members from the Paratrooper Infantry Brigade and Western Military Command. “U.S. Air Force officers joined the exercise, predominantly during close air support activities,” said FAB Colonel André Luiz Alves Ferreira, co-director of the exercise and head of COMPREP’s Operational Preparation Control Division.

Night training

The 2019 edition stood out for the use of Composite Air Operation (COMAO) at night. COMAO involves various aircraft and squadrons in a single mission with simultaneous operations. “The operations included dozens of aircraft, most of them using night vision goggles — NVG. The results were excellent, demonstrating solid operational and doctrinal progress of our units,” said Col. André Luiz.

According to the Air Force Public Affairs Office, each COMAO carried out during Tápio involved at least 100 service members and up to 30 aircraft with different performance levels. The goal of the combined exercise is to integrate the aircraft in a synergic, safe, and complementary manner, considering doctrine and the characteristics of each aircraft.

FAB Lieutenant Colonel Luciano Antonio Marchiorato Dobignies, commander of the 2nd Squadron/10th Air Group-Pelican Squadron, emphasized the importance of night missions. “They enabled the improvement of Tactical Pre-Hospital Care [APHT, in Portuguese] to service members of the rescue team, a result of lessons learned during the previous edition of the exercise,” he said.

The Pelican Squadron participated with the SC-105 (C-295 SAR) aircraft, performing the Airborne Mission Commander role. “The goal was to support the Combat Search and Rescue Task Force for communication and coordination between resources, with the evader and higher command, for better situational awareness, enabled by the systems on board,” Lt. Col. Marchiorato said.

“Compared with the previous edition, the latest edition of Exercise Tápio was marked by the improvement of APHT techniques,” stated Lt. Col. Marchiorato. “Each service member had to take refresher classes and undergo a series of evaluations, starting with a theoretical test on APHT. [This was] followed by a hands-on workshop. They were then tested in an enemy resistance field simulation, in addition to a complete check, also conducted during the flight.”

According to Lt. Col. Marchiorato, EXOP Tápio is the most complete exercise to prepare service members on irregular warfare missions and has been essential to coordinate different participating aircraft, and standardize rescue teams. Col. André Luíz also emphasized that all tactical and technical trainings and planned procedures were met during EXOP Tápio 2019.

Col. André Luíz also pointed out that the 2019 edition carried out more cargo and personnel launches and increased the use of doctrine by conducting advancement classes, workshops, and an intermediary meeting to analyze results. “EXOP Tápio enables us to train for realistic tactical scenarios,” the officer concluded.

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