The month of August 2020 marks the history of Patrol Aviation in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB): the First Squadron of the Seventh Aviation Group (1st / 7th GAV) Orungan Squadron, based at Wing 12, incorporated the Heron I Remotely Piloted Aircraft System.
The RPAs, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), are designated RQ-1150 by the Brazilian Air Force. They are used by around 20 countries around the world to boost Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
On October 17, 2018, the Preparatory Command (COMPREP) published Ordinance No. 169 / SCAD-30 creating the Sierra Working Group (GT Sierra), designating the military unit responsible for implementing and developing the operating doctrine of this aircraft in Wing 12. In November 2019, the first flight of the aircraft took place registered to the Brazilian Air Force as FAB 7820. The takeoff took place from the Santa Cruz aerodrome, and the flight lasted 40 minutes.
Incorporation by the Orungan Squad
In August 2020, the GT-Sierra was closed down and its material and human resources were incorporated into the Orungan Squadron. With this incorporation, the ISR Squadron (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) was activated as the 1st / 7th GAV. The function of the unit will be to disseminate knowledge and doctrines related to the use of airborne imaging sensors used by the P-3AM Orion and RQ-1150 Heron I aircraft.
According to the Commander of the 1st / 7th GAV, Lt-Col Pilot Marcelo de Carvalho Trope, the sharing between the military from the GT-Sierra and the Orungan Squadron represents an excellent opportunity for the development of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance activities. “It also enables an improvement in the results of the missions and in the Intelligence Products provided by the Air Unit”, he explains.
Currently, the Orungan Squadron performs several ISR missions with the P-3AM aircraft. However, the basic training of its crew comes from Patrol Aviation. The creation of an ISR Squadron in the 1st / 7th GAV will develop the Squadron's capabilities. The sharing of know-how and expertise with the officers and graduates from Reconnaissance Aviation may even represent a better use of the airborne sensors on the P-3 Orion aircraft, increasing the Squadron's capability to obtain and interpret images, as well as helping to prepare the reports from the Unit's missions.
On the other hand, the military that worked in the Sierra Working Group now has the entire administrative and operational structure of an Air Unit. In addition, the current operators of special equipment of the 1st / 7th GAV can also be used in the SARP Heron Crew, sharing with the new members the knowledge acquired during the 9 years of operation of the P-3AM aircraft in Brazil.