Friday, August 31, 2007

Dassault-Dornier Alpha-Jet

The French Air Force was present in the 2005 edition of the Portugal Air Show, the main portuguese air show. The french participation consisted in two demonstrations with the Dassault-Dornier Alpha-Jet: one by the well known Patrouille de France and the other one by Capitaine Laurent "Tom" Thomeret from L'Ecole de L'Avation de Chasse, Touraine. Thomeret's Alpha-Jet made a great flying display and was also present in the statical exhibition.

Currently, the Alpha-Jet is operated by Belgium, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar and Thailand. Portugal has begun the operation of this aircraft in 1993. The 50 aircrafts, received from Luftwaffe, were operated by 301 Squadron Jaguares (close air support) and 103 Squadron Caracóis (instruction), both based in Beja. After the transition of the Jaguares to the F-16 MLU (they now operate from Monte Real), the Caracóis assumed the close air support as a secondary mission and recieved the remaining operational fleet - with 15-20 aircrafts. They're also responsable for the acrobatic air team Asas de Portugal.

This series of photos is part of a report which I made for the magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

Capitaine Thomeret's Alpha-Jet after its demonstration.

A general view of the Alpha-Jet just a few minutes after is arrival at Évora. A second aircraft was in reserve. The force was supported by a C-160 Transal, based at Beja.

The french Alpha-Jet after its flying display - you can see, in the background, the city of Évora.

A close look at the markings of the aircraft.

Pedro Monteiro

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


On the last 21st of August, I have visited the assembly line of the Fabrequipa, located in Barreiro, where a part of the 260 Pandur II armoured vehicles ordered by Lisbon is being produced.
I was kindly received by Eng. Vítor Franco who, namely, described me the process of producting these modern armoured vehicles and the contacts that have been made during the last few months to assure a significant participation of the portuguese industry in the project.

I also had the chance to see and photograph the first seven vehicles produced in Viena and Barreiro and that will be delivered to the portuguese Army in September - in 2008, the Navy will receive 20 vehicles for the marines. At the same time, a few more - in several stages of their production- were being mounted in the Barreiro. In fact, according to Steyr, 24 vehicles will be provided to the portuguese forces until the end of the year.

A portuguese Pandur II in tests in Viena. Noticed the armour plates attached to the hull (photo from Steyr/Buss).

Soon I will post photos of the visit and a few more notes.

Pedro Monteiro

Obs: I would like to express my acknowledges to Mrs. Silke Buss, in representation of Steyr, who was responsable for the organization of this visit.

Portugal Air Show 2007

Finally, with less than a month away, some informations were given about the military aircrafts that will appear in this year's edition of the Portugal Air Show - the most important airshow of Portugal.
Thus, the skies of the city of Évora will be flown over by the acrobatic teams Asas de Portugal, Rotores de Portugal and the spanish ASPA; the Navy will present a demo with a Super Lynx and an unit of marines; the Air Force will also make an appearance with EH-101 Merlin and Alouette III helicopters and the F-16 fighter in a tactical exhibition.

In this site you can check more informations about the airshow (text in portuguese).

Pedro Monteiro

Pristina 072

In the context of the preparation of a new mission in Kosovo, the portuguese Army conducted the exercise Pristina 072. While it was taking place, I have made a report for the spanish magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo - as part of a series of reports that I have been making in order to gather photos and informations for an article about the Portuguese Army.
Irá decorrer no período de 18 a 27 de Julho de 2007 na Região de Vouzela, o Exercício “PRISTINA – 072”, que corresponde ao final do aprontamento do 2º Batalhão de Infantaria da Brigada de Intervenção (BrigInt), que a partir de Setembro de 2007 irá cumprir missão no Teatro de Operações (TO) do Kosovo.

Com a realização deste exercício pretende-se validar os níveis de treino de aperfeiçoamento operacional alcançados pelo Batalhão e a capacidade operacional da Força. De uma forma geral, o exercício permitirá praticar o planeamento, o controlo e a conduta de operações tácticas, associadas às Peace Support Operations (PSO), no quadro das missões e tarefas passíveis de serem desempenhadas pelo Batalhão no TO, tendo como referencial o ambiente operacional que se vive no Kosovo e as possíveis evoluções.
In the last ten years, the Brigada de Intervenção (the medium brigade of the military branch) mobilized more than 4.000 men and 11 units in several peacekeeping missions, such as in Bósnia, Kosovo and East Timor. Currently, it is preparing an unit of military engineers for the portuguese mission in Liban.

Since March its 2nd. Infantary Battalion (from Viseu) has been training for the mission in Kosovo, where will replace the forces of the Brigada Mecanizada.

As part of this preparation, the Army organized an exercise in the region of Vouzela between 18 and 26 July. As indicated in the briefing, the Pristina 072 mobilized 400 men (298 from the unit intended to Kosovo), 70 tactical vehicles and 9 armoured vehicles. It was also one of the last exercises that involve the veteran Chaimite fleet before the reception - in September - of the first Pandur II armoured vehicles.

A Panhard VBL M-11 light armoured vehicle.

A Chaimite V-200 armoured personnel carrier (APC) has given protection and fire support to the portuguese troops during the exercise. In Kosovo, the portuguese militaries will find nine of these vehicles - the last ones to be dettached in a foreign country.

Pedro Monteiro

Portuguese frigates to Uruguay (2)

In June, I have published a brief news about the possible sale of portuguese frigates to the authorities of Montevideo (look here). Recently, the same contact has informed me that the local press has noticed that, during the visit of the President of the Republic of Urugay in Portugal, in September, the acquisition will be announced.
The authorities in Montevideo have not annouced this fact yet, but that is normal even in the case of weapon systems bought second handed from other countries. In fact, the information about any acquisition is only given after the conclusion of the negociations and the signature of a formal agreement.
According to portuguese sources, the two frigates from João Belo class (similar to the french Commandant Rivière) could be transfered to Urugay by the end of this year - and will not have the AN/SQS-510 sonar.

Pedro Monteiro

Scale of the USS Eisenhower at Lisbon

Between 12th and 16th May, the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) has made a technical scale in Lisbon, after a six months' mission in the Persion Gulf. Although the presence of an american aicraft carrier in a portuguese port is rare, in last November the USS Enterprise has made a technical scale at Lisbon. With the invitation of the American Embassy, I have made a visit to this ship in representation of Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

A look at the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) shows several models of aircrafts which operate from the warship, such as the case of the E-2C Hawkeye, the A/F-18 E/F Super Hornet and the EA-6B.

A Super Hornet of the VFA-103 Jolly Rogers.

A long line of Ike's F-18 Hornet fleet. The fighter force of the aircraft carrier has more combat aircrafts than many air forces around the world.

Always impressive is the E-2C, an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft. Notice its radar antenna on the top of the aircraft.

Pedro Monteiro

Article about the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

As the result of the visit, organized by the United States Embassy, to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), I have published an article which on the Portuguese Air Force official magazine, the Mais Alto.

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