Robert Dahler, RDAVP visited the biggest exercise of Latin America, held at the Brazilian Air Bases of Anapolis, Campo Grande, Uberlandia, Brasilia and Jatai
CRUZEX III took place between 21 August and 1 September 2006 in the Mid-West of Brazil, over the States of Goiás, Mato Grosso do sul, Minas Gerais and the Federal District.
A multilateral air operation, CRUZEX III comprised of 103 aircraft and helicopters from the Air Forces of Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and France. Peru normally participates, but a crash of an A-37 Dragonfly at Porto Velho on the way to Anapolis killed both pilots, so Peru decided to withdraw. Soldiers from Bolivia, Paraguay and Colombia acted as observers.
CRUZEX is a biannual exercise, designed to train the Air Forces in the planning of combined operations with friendly countries, as well as training the military personnel of the Brazilian Air Force to operate in a modern structure of command and unified control of aerial power.
CRUZEX III comprised about 850 Brazilian military and 920 foreign military personnel, helping to develop the interchange of experiences and a good climate between the friendly countries. The Brazilian Air Force also used its mobile facilities to provide logistic support, called Módulo de Alimentação a Pontos Remotos (MAPRE); with this equipment it was possible to supply daily meals with good nutritional quality.
The scenario for the exercise featured three fictitious nations: Red Country, which has invaded its neighbour Yellow Country, and Blue Country, which supports the Yellow Country folk. Blue Country forms a coalition force with Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and France and goes to war against the Red Country.
Anapolis was the main base of the 'Blue' forces, which was where the coalition aircraft where stationed, flying two waves a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Other 'Blue' forces were based at Uberlandia, Brasilia and Jatai air bases. The opposing 'Red' forces comprised only Brazilian Air Force aircraft, which had five Northrop F-5EMs for air defence, five Embraer A-1 attack fighters, one R-99A AWACS, one Bell H-1H for SAR and one KC-130 Hercules for aerial refuelling.
The exercise had three phases: Exercise Pégasus ran from 14-18 August and was a simulation to test the development of the real exercise. From 21-25 August familiarisation sorties took place and the live exercise (LIVEX) between 28-31 August. During the four days of LIVEX two waves were flown each day as Combined Air Operations (COMAO) of around forty aircraft each. The first two days were dedicated to air supremacy and the last two for ground attack, Counter Insurrection (COIN) and Combat-Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions.
Sorties began at 08:30 with the departure of two R-99As and one E-3F. The first COMAO was airborne an hour later, followed by a second a few minutes later. Each COMAO composed different types of aircraft, and lasted nearly three hours. The E-3F was airborne for nine hours, covering the whole day's flying.
The achievement of CRUZEX III is that the Brazilian Air Force is able to continue optimising its operational capacity and modernising its procedures, in order to be one of the main Air Forces of the world.
Aircraft participating in CRUZEX III:
Força Aérea Brasileira: six F-5EMs, six F-5Es, eleven Embraer AMX (A-1, A-1A, RA-1 and A-1B), four AT-26s, five A-29A/Bs, four AT-27s, one C-95, one SC-95, two H-34s, two H-50s, three UH-1Hs, four R-99A/Bs, one KC-130H, one C-130H and one C-130E from a wide variety of units.
Fuerza Aérea Argentina: three IA-58D Pucaras from Grupo 3 de Ataque plus three A-4AR Fightinghawks from Grupo 5 de Caza.
Fuerza Aérea de Chile: six A/OA-37B Dragonflys from Grupo de Aviación Nº 12 supported by Boeing 707 Aguila 903.
Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya: three IA-58A Pucaras from Escuadrón Aereo N° 1 (Ataque) and three A-37B Dragonflys from Escuadron Aereo N° 2 (Caza) plus an EMB-120 Brasilia and a CASA C-212-200 from Escuadron Aereo N° 3 (Transporte).
Fuerza Aérea de la Repúbilca Bolivariana de Venezuela: one F-16A and two F-16Bs from Grupo Aéreo de Caza Nº 16, one Mirage 50EV and two Mirage 50DVs from Grupo Aéreo de Caza Nº 11, two F-5As from Grupo Aéreo de Caza Nº 12 and a Boeing 707-320C for Grupo Aéreo de Transporte Nº 6 with in-flight refueling capability.
Armée de L'Air: four Mirage 2000Ns from EC 01.004 and EC 02.004, four Mirage 2000Cs from EC 02.012 and an E-3C Sentry from EDCA 00.036.
Special thanks goes out to Luciano Porto and the SPOTTER team for CRUZEX III (Ezequiel Celini, André Luis de Freitas, Regionaldo Araújo and Marco Aurélio do Couto)