The FAB's primary attack aircraft is the AMX, which is known as the A-1 in Brazil
A joint Brazilian-Italian venture between Embraer and Aermacchi, the A-1 is in service with Ala.4 at Santa Maria
The twin-seat AF-1C formates behind our photo-ship over the Rio Grande del Norte estuary
Able to attack targets at slow speed makes the Dragonfly an excellent COIN (COunter-INsurgency) aircraft,
with its ability to loiter for long periods in confined airspace where fast-jets cannot operate as effectively
Força Aérea Brasileira Lockheed C-130s from Ala.11 were used to deploy personnel, radars, antennas and other equipment to various cities in the northeast of Brazil prior to the commencement of Cruzex
Another aircraft arriving on 17th November was this Boeing 737 from 10 Grupo, Chilean Air Force
The aircraft is seen here landing on Runway 16L
This single-seat A-1A shows to good effect the large in-flight refuelling probe fitted to Brazilian AMX's
Armed with two AIM-120s on the wing-tip pylons, an AIM-9X and a LANTIRN targeting pod,
this Lone Star Gunfighter is captured in action over the Atlantic Ocean during Cruzex VIII
After a break of five years, it was never going to be a simple process to re-establish South America's largest air-combat exercise. There were a number of countries missing that Brazil would have hoped would have participated such as Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela; but the Fuerza Aérea del Perú participated with aircraft for the first time, as did the Brazilian Navy. Overall, Cruzex VIII was deemed a success by the FAB and also by the other countries
U.S. special tactics airmen from the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron and SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) instructors from the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard, also participated in the two-week training at Cruzex. TSgt. Matt Renteria, a JTAC with the Texas Air National Guard said; “The goal is to work together, to train on how to properly and more efficiently call in close-air support in a combat situation. Riding on the planes, calling in the air strikes together, it makes the learning that much easier because you’ve already built a rapport. There is trust and you know each other, and that just works really well on a training level.”
Brazil ordered 50 Airbus Helicopters EC725 Caracals (known as the H-36 in Brazil), to be split between the Air Force, Army and Navy; with some being assembled locally by Helibras. A total of 18 are planned for the FAB and the fleet includes two VIP and a number of CSAR versions.
Base Aérea de Natal-BANT provides Cruzex with the perfect location for an air-to-air exercise, with vast areas of airspace available over the states of Ceará, Paraiba, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte. Combined with the large amounts of airspace available over the Atlantic Ocean, which are relatively free of civilian traffic, Cruzex can run uninhibited by any airspace restrictions. Cruzex operations are conducted on a simulated basis, meaning that no 'live' weapons firing takes place during the exercise. The Director of Cruzex, Air Brigadeiro Luiz Guilherme Silveira de Medeiros (photo, centre), explained that this is the largest multi-national joint exercise in South America, which also includes units from the Brazilian Army and Brazilian Navy. “We want to learn a little more and improve our operational capacity. We need to incorporate new procedures, techniques and tactics, because the idea of our Commander is that we integrate troops," says Brigadeiro Medeiros.
Combined Air Operations (COMAO)
Brazilian Air Force Embraer E-99 aircraft conducted the airborne command and control for Cruzex
The A-37’s ability to haul 5,800lbs of ordnance is well illustrated in the image above
The six underwing fuel tanks perfectly showing off the large payload for such a small aircraft
This RA-1 version of the AMX aircraft is equipped with a reconnaissance pod on the under-fuselage hardpoint
Two Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Lockheed CC-130J Hercules aircraft, along with 37 members of the Canadian Air Task Force from 436 Squadron/ 8 Wing, 1st Canadian Air Division, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Andy Bowser (Cruzex Air Task Force Commander), attended Cruzex 2018. In addition to flying tactical missions, two jumpmasters from the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre (CAAWC) joined the deployment. The RCAF has had a bilateral relationship with the Força Aérea Brasileira since 2009 and this was the RCAF’s second Cruzex deployment. Lieutenant-Colonel Bowser said; “During Cruzex, we took the opportunity to fly tactical missions in combat scenarios, performing everything from airborne operations and container delivery system drops, to upgrade flights for our first officers. Perhaps the most important part of the exercise for us was building relationships with our partner nations in the region.”
In line with the current restructuring that the FAB is going through, Lt. Brigadier Antonio Carlos Egito de Amaral, explained that there was a need to integrate and develop new procedures, techniques and tactics already in use with other countries. “What’s different is that we are getting out of our comfort level. We will move forward, do something we do not do – learn. We are heading for another level, where we will gain a lot”. He went on to tell us “The idea is for Brazil to join peacekeeping troops, especially in Africa. If we do, we need to be prepared to accomplish the mission properly”. Cruzex 2018 will allow Brazilian troops to train alongside NATO members who already carry out these types of mission. Prior to the COMAOs, which involve between 40-50 aircraft packages, participating squadrons spent the first two days of the exercise undertaking Familiarization and Integration Training (Fam-FIT) flights, which involves the adaptation to local airfield conditions whilst conducting less complex missions than those undertaken during the COMAOs. The COMAOs commence after a document called the ‘Air Task Order’ is issued, which lists all the actions to be performed by each aircraft involved in the COMAO. The Mission Commander then has just 24 hours to complete the mission planning and take to the air. In the meantime, there are two meetings - the initial co-ordination meeting and the final co-ordination meeting - as well as a mass briefing with all the crews involved.
Brazilian Navy 'Falcões' VF-1
U.S. Air Force C-17A Globemasters provided support for the Texas Air National Guard F-16s
This particular aircraft is from the 105th Airlift Wing, New York ANG, based at Stewart Air National Guard Base
The H-36's external winch is clearly visible in the photo above
This particular helicopter wears a 1°/8º GAV (Esquadrão Falcão) unit badge on the forward fuselage
Tanker Town - Cruzex style
A Brazilian KC-130, Washington ANG KC-135R and Chilean KC-135E await their next call
'Lone Star Gunfighters'
French Defence Attaché, Colonel Charles Orlianges, told the press that France has been an important partner of Brazil since the first edition of Cruzex in 2002. The Armée de l’Air brought a single CASA 235 transport to this year’s exercise, together with Advanced Air Guidance (GAA) Special Forces, more commonly known as Joint-Terminal-Attack Controllers (JTAC). Colonel Orlianges explained that the French military’s experience in JTAC brought important contributions to Cruzex, having recently participated in real operations. “It is important to improve interoperability between countries so that the level of professionalism is balanced, especially considering the possibility of some future joint engagement in peace missions, as there are ongoing discussions about Brazil’s participation in the Central African Republic”, he said.
FABulous Tiger IIs..................
An Airbus Helicopters H-36 Caracal of the Força Aérea Brasileira awaits the call at Natal
In the build up to Cruzex, the FAB’s 1st Communications and Control Group (1 GCC) were mobilised to broaden radar coverage, increase communication capacity between aircraft and allow for the evaluation of real-time combat. The unit deployed personnel, radars, antennas and other equipment to various cities in the northeast of Brazil, utilising a mix of Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft and trains. To provide greater radar coverage, Lockheed Martin TPS-B34M air surveillance radar was deployed to the city of Caico, controlled by the 3rd Integrated Centre for Air Defence and Air Traffic Control (CINDACTA III). Colonel Aviador Cyro Cruz (Commander 1 GCC) said; “What we are doing in the exercise is to install, operate and maintain a means of detection and communications in places where they are often insufficient and with almost no infrastructure for such a large demand for flights. It is also an excellent opportunity to validate our operational logistics capability by mobilising equipment and personnel from the Group and its five squadrons”.
With its brake-chute billowing behind it, this FACh F-16 Fighting Falcon slows to a halt following a COMAO
The first of the COMAOs comprised a total of 59 aircraft, led by the Mission Commander, Major Felipe Scheer, an A-1 AMX pilot with 1°/10°Gav, Ala.4. He explained that the complexity of the COMAO is the need to align the various doctrines of each country and the differing types of aircraft operated, in order to achieve a common goal. He also cited the fact that each aircraft has distinct flight profiles and performance, all of which needs to be taken into account during the mission planning. He explained; "The responsibility and complexity of a mission increases as the type and number of aircraft involved increase". In addition to the numerous fast-jets involved, support for the COMAOs was provided by Lockheed KC-130s and Boeing KC-135s in the aerial refuelling role, whilst air assault missions were flown by Lockheed C-130 Hercules, CASA C-105s and a single French CASA C-235.
Twin-seat #N-1022 wears a similar camouflage pattern to the single-seat aircraft,
allbeit with high-viz roundels and squadron markings
who participated. As one of the FAB personnel told me off the record; "You have to understand that most of the personnel here have never been involved in a Cruzex before - the experience we had from 2013 is no longer here, so we are learning as we go". Reflecting on Cruzex VIII as it came to an end, much was achieved in a number of different ways - in excess of 1200 flight hours took place, and with the exception of some FOD ingestions and a couple of minor problems with some FAB F-5's, no major issues occurred as far as aircraft operations were concerned. The RCAF and Brazilian Air Force both benefitted enormously from the para-drop cross fertilization that they carried out, whilst the unconventional warfare scenario added another dimension to the exercise. Whether Cruzex returns in 2019 or 2020 only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Cruzex is firmly back on the map.
The Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh) contingent arrived just prior to the commencement of this year's Cruzex; the single KC-135E tanker coming from Grupo de Aviación Nº 10, at Santiago, and the F-16s from Grupo de Aviación Nº 7, at Antofagasta. The FACh F-16s in service with Grupo 7 are ex-Royal Netherland Air Force (RNLAF) F-16s, purchased by Chile after an agreement with the Dutch government in 2009.
The same aircraft as in the previous photo (#5952) is seen on the ramps at BANT
The 'Call 121.5' on the droptank referring to the Guard, or emergency frequency used by aircraft in distress
CASA 295s (known as the C-105 in Brazil) supplement the FAB's C-130s in the transport fleet
This particular C-105 is from 1°/15°GAv, part of Ala.5 at Campo Grande
Operating alongside the FAB Super Tucanos in the attack role were Cessna A-37s from both Peru and Uruguay
Some of the Dragonflies are seen on the Natal ramp on 21st November awaiting their next mission
which saw Iraqi forces invade Kuwait in 1990, the first time that NATO procedures were used in a South American combined exercise. Cruzex had not been held since 2013, the reason for the five year break being due to the Brazilian military’s involvement in providing security during the 2013 Confederations Cup, the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympics. With Cruzex back on the map, it is hoped that the exercise will once again become an annual or biennial event.
Fuerza Aérea de Chile
Peru's Mirage 2000s underwent a modernisation programme in 2009, in a deal that involved Dassault, Snecma and Thales
Of note is that only the two-seat 2000DP aircraft at Cruzex had an in-flight refuelling probe fitted
The two-seater is photographed after completing another mission from Natal
Four Dassault Mirage 2000s from Peru's Grupo Aéreo 4 participated in Cruzex VIII
#050 is seen arriving at Natal on 17th November, prior to commencement of the exercise
A number of aircraft that did not participate in Cruzex provided support for the deploying fighters
This Chilean Air Force Lockheed KC-130R Hercules arrived on 17th and is a former U.S. Navy aircraft
Two A-4 Skyhawks from the Brazilian Navy participated in Cruzex VIII
The single-seater is captured here returning after a morning COMAO on 21st November
Texas Air National Guard participates in Cruzex
Talking about the 149th Fighter Wing's participation in Cruzex, Lt. Colonel Nathan Dennen explained; “This exercise is the biggest and best in South America. There is nothing like it, we cannot miss the opportunity. All participants will have operational gains. Nowadays, there is no peacekeeping mission alone; interoperability relations between countries are the key to making the world a better place, more stable and able to face problems”.
Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Having planned to attend Cruzex 2006, one of the Fuerza Aérea del Perú (FAP) A-37 Dragonflies crashed on its way to the exercise, resulting in the country cancelling its participation. In Cruzex 2018, FAP aircraft participated for the first time with four Cessna A-37B and four Dassault Mirage 2000. Lt. Colonel Gustavo Obergoso said of the deployment; “Cruzex will be our first major participation in an international event of this type. We hope to show South America, to the world, that we are a prepared air force and we have a high level of professionalism, besides learning a lot, especially with Brazil, who has great experience with the organization of this training”.
A Brazilian Navy AF-1C Skyhawk and Brazilian Air Force F-5EM formate behind our camera ship
A small number of two-seat F-5FMs are in service with Ala.3
#4808 was the only one of the type taking part in Cruzex 2018 and is seen recovering at Natal
This CASA SC-105 from Ala.5 stood SAR (Search & Rescue) duty throughout the exercise
#N-1008 (ex BuNo.160912) is captured just after landing on Runway 16L at BANT
The colour scheme worn is that which will be applied to all Brazilian Navy A-4s after upgrade by Embraer
The Brazilian Air Force Cruzeiro Do Sul exercise (Cruzex - Southern Cross), is a multi-national exercise centred on Base Aérea de Natal (BANT), home to the Segundo Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR 2 - Second Regional Air Command). Aimed at training a variety of differing conflict scenarios, it is designed to promote the exchange of experiences between the participating nations. Since its early days, Cruzex has grown into a full-scale air combat exercise designed to train pilots and commanders in the planning of Combined Air Operations (COMAO), whilst also allowing Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB - Brazilian Air Force) personnel to train with the minimal use of Command and Control (C2) systems. Cruzex reinforces and practices air tactics, techniques and procedures used during conventional air warfare, in which forces of different nations operate together. With the exercise being held between 18-30th November 2018, the eighth edition of Cruzex saw in excess of 100 aircraft from Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Peru, the United States and Uruguay participate; along with personnel from Bolivia, Ecuador, Germany, India, Portugal, Sweden and Venezuela. Having never ventured to South America, Jetwash Aviation Photos thought it was about time we added a new destination to our reports.
'Battling over Brazil'
As was to be expected, a large number of FAB Embraer A-29B Super Tucanos were involved in Cruzex
The aircraft are based at Natal with 2°/5°GAv, part of Ala.10 wing
The orange glow of the setting sun light's up this A-37B from the Peruvian Air Force
Captured in flight over Rio Grande do Norte, this AMX wears the FAB's familiar grey/green camouflage pattern
The Cessna A-37B Dragonfly is the only jet fighter currently in service with the Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya (FAU), operating with Escuadrón Aereo 2 de Caza (2nd Fighter Squadron) at Durazno, as part of Brigada Aérea II (2nd Air Brigade). One of the smaller air forces in South America, the FAU's Colonel Parentini summed up the country's expectations during Cruzex; "It's a great experience to share expertise with the participants. It is the chance to see how the other air forces act, work together and try to fly as effectively and safely as possible”. Located at Mario Walter Parallada Air Base, the FAU received eight A-37B in 1976, followed by eight OA-37B in 1988/89. In all, Grupo 2 sent 30 personnel along with the three A-37s deployed.
Escuadrón Caza-Bombardeo 711 (711th Fighter-Bomber Squadron), headquartered at Grupo Aéreo 7 (7th Air Group) in Piura, operate the Peruvian Air Force A-37B Dragonfly fleet. The FAP has 20 of the type still in service, with a small number in the process of being upgraded. The A-37 was designed as a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft for operations against armed reconnaissance units, escort of ground forces, and to provide ground support against irregular groups of insurgents. In line with this role, the FAP operate the A-37 against counter-narcotics trafficking, anti-insurgency and bombing duties in support of the country’s land forces.
An RCAF CC-130J Hercules from 436 Squadron is captured about to land at BANT during Cruzex 2018
Although carrying Air Mobility Command (AMC) insignia on the tail-fin
This Boeing KC-135R was flown by crews from the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard
This HS.125-700 provided support for the Uruguayan Air Force A-37 Dragonflies
and remained at Natal (BANT) throughout the exercise
The French Air Force contributed a single CASA 235 transport to Cruzex, supporting air assault missions for the
unconventional warfare part of the exercise
The ex-RNLAF F-16s had all undergone a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) prior to delivery to Chile, bringing the aircraft up to a similar standard to the Block 50 F-16s the FACh had previously purchased direct from the United States. The first ex-Dutch aircraft arrived at Base Aérea Cerro Moreno, Antofagasta, in 2010, with deliveries completed by the middle of 2011. The Chilean Air Force is contemplating modernization of their fleet of F-16s, which would include AESA radar, a new mission system, cockpit improvements and an improved ECM/ESM system. Involved in Cruzex VIII, Colonel Cesar Pineda told the press; “We are very interested in updating our tactics and increasing our level of interoperability, as well as strengthening our ties with the air forces of friendly nations”.
Uruguay's diminutive 'bombtrucks'
The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano attack aircraft are equipped with a modern avionics suit, digital instrumentation, Head-Up Display (HUD) and sensors for passive detection of ground targets. It is equipped with two 12.7mm wing-mounted machine-guns and can carry a variety of armaments, including the indigenous MAA-1 Piranha air-to-air missile, unguided rocket pods and high-explosive and incendiary bombs. It van also carry up to five external drop tanks, in five stations. The A-29B has been in service with 2º/5º GAV/Ala.10 at BANT since September 2004.
He then went on to explain why Cruzex is so important. “It is important for three reasons. In 2002, in the first edition of CRUZEX, we received three countries with air assets and one country sent a military observer. Today, we have seven countries that will bring aircraft, outside the observers. The evolution is very clear. It is no wonder that the number of stakeholders has been increasing. This exchange of experience is essential if the Air Force is to reach an adequate level of training. Secondly, Cruzex is important for the interoperability it provides. The Army and Navy will also be participating, including in the unconventional warfare, which is one of the main novelties of this year’s edition. In this type of scenario, the conflict does not happen between two constituted states, but against insurgent forces. And, finally, the exercise is important for the possibility of training our logistical-operational means. This is essential because in the event of a conflict or in the event that the country is moved, for example, to attend a peace operation, we have to have the expertise to perform”.
Until delivery of the new Saab Gripen E, the upgraded Northrop F-5EM/FM Tiger IIs form the frontline fighter force of the FAB. The upgrade by Embraer saw the aircraft equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems, targeting and self-defence systems, SELEX Grifo-F radar, INS/GPS-based navigation and air-to-air refuelling systems. The cockpit upgrades give the pilot hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls, helmet mounted displays (HMDs), three multi-function display screens, radar warning receiver, encrypted communications, night vision goggle capability and an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS). Able to establish secure communication with the FAB’s Embraer R-99 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and ground stations, the F-5s are expected to remain in service with the Brazilian Air Force for at least a further 10 years. The F-5 is in service with four wings (Ala.2 at Anapolis, Ala.3 at Canoas, Ala.8 at Manoas and Ala.12 at Santa-Cruz). The first F-5s were ordered from the United States in 1974 under the 'Peace Amazon' Foreign Military Sales Program (FMS).
In the first COMAO of CRUZEX 2018, the fighter package took off between 09:50 and 10:34, one aircraft every three minutes; the scenario being a simulation of a country that carries out offensive actions (Red-Air) against another that is defending itself. The defensive group (Blue Force) is composed of between four and eight fighters and an aerial refuelling aircraft. The first COMAO involved all the participating countries in the exercise, with A-1, A-4, A-29 and A-37 aircraft conducting the attack missions, whilst F-5, F-16 and Mirage 2000 fighters conducted the air defence missions.
Colonel Raul Rosario (left), who took command of the 'Lone Star Gunfighters' of the 149th Fighter Wing in August of this year, was asked about how the unit was selected to participate in this year’s Cruzex; “We are Citizen Soldiers – mostly part-time, doctors, airline pilots etc., people with everyday jobs", he explained. "The Air Force looks at all concepts when selecting a unit to participate in exercises. The Air National Guard units are opened up to South America, with each state matched to a specific country. The 149th is matched to both Chile and the Czech Republic (in Europe) under the State Partnership Program (SPP). It’s about operating jointly as equals – being ready. Maintaining peace is the No.1 objective”.
Escuadrón Caza-Bombardeo 412/Grupo Aéreo 4, operate the FAP’s Dassault Mirage 2000P/DP fighters
The Mirage 2000P is a version of Dassault’s 2000E, a multi-role export version of the Mirage 2000C fitted with the RDM+ radar. The 12 Peruvian aircraft were purchased in 1984, with deliveries commencing in December 1986
One of three ex-U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-135E Stratotankers in service with Grupo 10
#982 is captured as it brakes hard after landing at BANT on 22nd November 2018
Arriving just before sunset on 17th November is this Lockheed L.100-20 Hercules
The aircraft is based with Grupo Aéreo de Transporte 8 at BA Jorge Chavez/Lima
2º/5º GAV's Super Tucanos were extremely active during Cruzex 2018, conducting ground support missions
One of the unit's aircraft is seen rolling-out after landing at Natal
This F-5EM is captured over the Rio Grande do Norte region of Brazil during the first day of Cruzex 2018
The upgraded A-1M is designed to keep Brazil’s fleet of AMX capable through 2025. Replacing the aircraft's avionics with a modern digital cockpit that is NVG compatible, the three full-colour multifunction displays (MFD) and head-up display are linked to a new GPS-capable navigation and communications system. Upgraded Mectron/SELEX SCP-01 Scipio radar, new radar warning receiver, improved FLIR and laser target designators are also included in the upgrade. The first upgraded aircraft was delivered to the FAB in 2013, with 53 planned. One of the twin-seat A-1BM aircraft is seen above.
Thanks go to the following for their help in completing this article: -
Luciana Paquet, Brazilian Air Attaché's Office, London
ACM Antonio Ramirez Lorenzo, CECOMSAER
Press Office Cruzex
A-29B #5927 departs Natal, heading out for an afternoon COMAO
It is uncear which unit the aircraft belongs to as it is bereft of unit markings
A Brief History of Cruzex
The idea of Cruzex came to the fore in 2000, after Brazilian Air Force observers participated in the French exercise Odex, whichbecame the main inspiration for Cruzex, simulating an armed conflict between border states that required the intervention of a peacekeeping force to enable a ceasefire. Recent conflicts perfectly illustrate that these types of scenarios were and are becoming far more common, and the Brazilian Air Force want to ensure that it is prepared for any possible conflict that it may become embroiled in, enabling it to respond to a crisis, whilst also allowing it to integrate into any United Nations peacekeeping operations. The first Cruzex took place in 2002, with Argentina, Chile and France participating in the exercise, alongside Brazilian Air Force assets. The first exercise was based on one similar to that
The A-4 Skyhawk (known as the AF-1 in Brazil) was obtained by the Brazilian Navy to equip VF-1 (1º Esquadrão de Aviões de Interceptação e Ataque), a batch of 23 former A-4KU/TA-4KU Kuwait Air Force aircraft being purchased in April 1998. The Brazilian Navy sent two AF-1 jets to Cruzex, an AF-1B single-seat and an AF-1C twin-seat; the first time the Brazilian Navy had participated in the exercise. The modernized AF-1s, upgraded by Embraer, have received a glass cockpit and Israeli EL/M2032 radar, enabling them to perform air-to-air, air-ground and maritime operations. The radar’s TWS (Track While Scan) sub-mode has the ability to locate and track up to 64 targets simultaneously.
An Uruguayan A-37B captured at low-level over the Atlantic Ocean
A single-seat F-5EM from 1°/14°GAv/Ala.3 taxi's out at Natal during Cruzex 2018
This Chilean F-16AM is captured on approach to Natal as it arrives for the exercise
Base Aérea de Natal, Brazil, 18-30 November 2018
VF-1 Falcões, the Brazilian Navy's first Intercept and Attack Fighter Squadron, was established 2nd October 1998 at Naval Air Station São Pedro da Aldeia, 80 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. VF-1's primary mission is air defence and anti-surface missions. The first AF-1 (#N-1007) was flown 26th April 2000, by Lt. Col. James Edwin Rogers (USMC). A month later the same aircraft was flown by a Brazilian pilot, who also did a touch-and-go on the Brazilian Navy carrier Minas Gerais. The first trap and cat-shot on the CV Minas Gerais followed in January 2001.
In the first COMAO of the exercise, an Uruguyan A-37 and Peruvian Mirage 2000 are captured in close formation
Unlike previous Cruzex exercises, which have only utilised fighter aircraft; Cruzex 2018 saw participation from rotary-wing assets, Special Forces, army and naval assets, and transport aircraft. The scenario for Cruzex 2018 also involved one of ‘unconventional warfare’, in which the combating of insurgent or paramilitary forces was played out, similar to the profile found in UN peacekeeping missions. During the exercise it was expected that somewhere between 1,200 and 1,300 hours would be flown, with the missions centred on the town of Maxaranguape, 40 miles northwest of Natal. Brigadeiro Medeiros explained why the unconventional warfare scenario was introduced to this year’s Cruzex; “The needs of the state naturally evolve over time. In peace missions, for example, we have already trained our land resources, as in Haiti. Our naval assets have also been trained, as in the mission of Lebanon, where the commander is from the Brazilian Navy. Now, we have entered into a UN audit to use other aircraft on peace missions; the C-105 Amazona, the H-60 Black Hawk and the A-29 Super Tucano. These aircraft are already pre-approved for use. So what we are going to train at Cruzex 2018 are actions linked to this type of conflict, unconventional warfare, which are quite specific. In such cases, the risk of collateral damage, that is, of targeting civilians or facilities not directly related to the conflict, is very high”.