During the second edition of the Tápio Operational Exercise (EXOP Tápio), the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) deployed 600 military and 50 aircraft – aircraft and helicopters – belonging to 30 air squads, in the city of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso del Sur.
Held from April 23 to May 17, 2019 on Wing 5, the event was aimed at training troops in an irregular war scenario, where the parties to the conflict are not legitimate states and armed forces, but insurgent groups, paramilitaries and resistance.
The intention of the Preparation Command (COMPREP), creator of the exercise, is to train subordinate air and land resources in various air force operations, in a scenario very similar to the real one. EXOP Tápio is very similar to the peace missions of the United Nations Organization.
In 20 days, some 700 missions were carried out, including Close Air Support, Advanced Air Control, Advanced Air Waybill, Escort, Air Infiltration and Extraction, Search and Rescue in Combat and Air Defense. In addition to the FAB aircraft, a Brazilian Navy aircraft participated.
Operational resources of the Air Rescue Squadron, the Air Defense Brigade and Air Defense Groups, all belonging to the FAB, were also used. The Brazilian Army was present with soldiers of the Paratrooper Infantry Brigade and the Western Military Command.
“United States Air Force officers participated in the exercise, primarily in the operations of Near Air Support,” said FAB Colonel André Luiz Alves Ferreira, co-director of the exercise and head of the Operational Readiness Control Division of the COMPREP.
The unique thing about this 2019 edition was that Composite Air Operations (COMAO) was carried out during the night. Also known as a package, a COMAO brings together several aircraft and squadrons in a single mission with simultaneous actions.
“Dozens of aircraft participated in the operations, and most of the time night vision goggles were used. The results were excellent, which demonstrated the solid operational and doctrinal evolution of our units, ”said the Cnel. Andre Luiz.
According to Public Relations of the Air Force, each package that was carried out during EXOP Tápio had at least 100 soldiers and up to 30 aircraft of different uses. The objective of the combined exercise is the integration of aircraft in a synergistic, safe and complementary manner, within the framework of the doctrines and peculiarities of each air force.
Lieutenant Colonel of the FAB Luciano Antonio Marchiorato Dobignies, commander of the 2nd Squadron of the 10th Aviation Group – Pelican Squadron, highlighted the importance of the missions carried out at night. “The military of the rescue teams were able to improve their Pre-Hospital Tactical Care (APHT in Portuguese) training, which they learned in the previous edition of the exercise,” he said.
The Pelican Squadron participated with the aircraft SC-105 (C-295 SAR), as Airborne Mission Commander. “The objective was to collaborate in the communication and coordination of resources with the Search and Rescue Task Force in Combat, with subordinates and superior commands, based on a better situational awareness fostered by integrated systems,” explained Tte. Cnel Marchiorate
“This last edition of the Tápio Exercise, in comparison with the previous one, stood out for the improvement of APHT techniques,” said Tte. Cnel Marchiorate “The military had to take classes to update and perform a series of evaluations, which began with a theoretical APHT test. Then they attended a practical workshop, to then apply what they learned in the field with enemy resistance simulation, in addition to a complete verification even in flight.”
For Tte. Cnel Marchiorato, EXOP Tápio is the most complete military exercise in preparation for irregular war missions, and was essential for the adaptation of the different participating air components, as well as for the standardization of rescue teams. The Cnel André Luíz stressed that EXOP Tápio 2019 completed all the training of the planned tactics, techniques and procedures.
The Cnel André Luíz also stressed that in the 2019 edition there was a quantitative increase in cargo and personnel launches, as well as greater doctrinal instruction, with training courses, workshops and a meeting to analyze the results. “EXOP Tápio helps our teams train in an almost real tactical scenario,” the official concluded.