AH-2, H-60 and H-36 Helicopters Train for Irregular Warfare
(Source: Brazilian Air Force; issued Aug 26, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
A Brazilian Air Force Combat SAR package prepares to take off during Ex. Operational Tapio: from rear, two AH-2 Saber (Mi-35) gunships, an H-60L Black Hawk and an H36 Caracal (Airbus H225M). (FAB photo)
The daily take-offs of the AH-2 Saber, H-60L Black Hawk and H-36 Caracal helicopters to carry out joint missions are already routine in the Operacional Tápio Exercise 2020, which started on August 17th and runs until August September 4 at Wing 5 - Campo Grande Air Base. Altogether, there are about 10 sorties per day for missions that include Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Infiltration and Exfiltration.

All Brazilian Air Force (FAB) rotary-wing operational squadrons are participating in the Tápio Operational Exercise 2020, which is one of the main training courses carried out by the Preparation Command (COMPREP). The objective is to align the doctrine and improve Air Force action procedures in scenarios similar to those found in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions, in which the enemy troops are insurgents, guerrillas or paramilitary forces. In this context, helicopters are used stealthily, in conjunction with Special Operations soldiers.

“Rotating wing aircraft have the characteristic of being able to fly as close to the ground, using the technique of navigation between obstacles. In this case, the terrain and obstacles are literally used to hide from the enemy,” explains the commander of the Harpia Squadron (7th / 8th GAV), Pilot Lt. Colonel Leonardo Ell Pereira.

In the Operational Exercise Tápio 2020, on graduation flights, an H-60L Black Hawk aircraft and an H-36 Caracal aircraft take off to perform rescue missions, together with two AH-2 Saber, which have high combat capability, to escort them. The four aircraft complement each other to complete a common task.

The AH-2 Saber has essentially offensive characteristics, with high firepower and armor. According to the Operations Officer of the Poti Squadron (2nd / 8th GAV), Pilot Major Carlos Vítor Palhão Machado, when the aircraft acts in conjunction with others that have characteristics more related to combat rescue, the importance lies in aligning procedures doctrine and seek the synergy of equipment in the fulfillment of the mission. The preparations, briefings and flights carried out at Tápio allow the Squadrons to advance together in the doctrinal development of the FAB in CSAR and Escort Actions with the AH-2.

"In the case of the AH-2 Saber, the crews train the protection of the CSAR package throughout the route and apply the TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) trained at headquarters, consolidating the doctrine or recording the observed facts to propose studies and changes if necessary," stressed Major Vítor.

The H-60L Black Hawk is an aircraft designed to perform CSAR, infiltration and exfiltration. “The H-60 has flight characteristics and robustness that are very much in line with the type of mission found at Tápio, which provides a very high operational safety for the crews”, explains Lt. Col. Ell.

The H-36 Caracal has similar jobs to the H-60, since both are used primarily as rescue vehicles by the FAB. “Joint training is important so that the elements can operate in a coordinated and efficient manner, taking advantage of the advantages and covering the disadvantages that each one may have”, explains Commander of the Falcão Squadron (1st / 8th GAV), Pilot Lt. Colonel Délcio Claudio Santarém Junior.

He explains that participating in the Tápio Operational Exercise is decisive for maintaining the operational training of the crew, “The training is part of one of the stages of the operational progression of the pilots. Pilots acquire skills such as knowing how to operate in coordination with the various elements that can fulfill a CSAR mission, such as identifying, authenticating, providing support and rescuing the evaders in the midst of possible threats,” adds Lt. Col. Santarém.


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