Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dragão 08: Portuguese and Spanish troops train crisis response

The Dragão 08 is the main military exercise of the Brigada de Intervenção (Intervention Brigade, the medium brigade of the Portuguese Army). The last edition has included the participation of Spanish troops from the BRILAT as part of the Sagitário 08 - which took place along with the Dragão 08.

In short, the Dragão 08 has comprised to phases: the first one, in April, was basicly a command post exercise (CPX, check the article in Defesa Net); the second one, was a field training exercise (FTX). The FTX has involved 1.135 men and 160 tactical vehicles, inclunding 27 armoured vehicles (12 V-150 with a 90mm gun; 13 Chaimite V-200 personnel carriers; 2 Chaimite V-600 armed with a 81mm mortar). The field manoeuvres took place in the mountainous region of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, north of Portugal.

The Dragão 08 has allowed to the Brigada de Intervenção the trainning of a crisis response response, as well as joint operations with foreing troops.

In the last ten years, the brigade mobilized more than 4.000 men and 11 units in several peacekeeping missions. This was the case of the missions in Bósnia, Kosovo and East Timor. Currently, it has an unit of military engineers deployed in Liban and is preparing a combat unit for a mission in Kosovo.

A V-150 armoured vehicle, armed with a 90mm gun, during field manoeuvres. The Brigada de Intervenção also operates the Chaimite armoured vehicle in both troop carrier (V-200) and mortar carrier (V-600) variants [click to enlarge].

An image of the stressful and demanding command post exercise which simulated the defence against a conventional threat [click to enlarge].

A Spanish soldier from the BRILAT. Around 100 Spanish troops (infantry) have been involved with the second phase of the Dragão 08 [click to enlarge].

Reports published in the Brazilian website Defesa Net:

Pedro Monteiro

Helicopters over Beja

Anually, the 552 Squadron "Zangões" organizes a meeting which brings to Beja, south of Portugal, different generations of helicopter pilots. This year, the meeting has happened in May 17th.
As usually, pilots and members from other Portuguese helicopter units were invited to the event. This is the case of the 751 Sqn. (EH-101 Merlin) and the EHM (Super Lynx, Navy). In addition, aviation enthusiasts and plane spotters were invited to be present.

The 552 Sqn. operates the Alouette III fleet. In service with the Portuguese Air Force since 1963, the Alouette III has already reached the impressive mark of 300.000 flying hours. Besides, tis amazing machine is used by the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal).

One Alouette III seconds before the end of another flight. The 552 Sqn. is one of the most active squadrons in the Air Force. For several reasons. First, because all the military pilots destined to the helicopters – including those from the Army and the Navy – make their training with the "Zangões". Secondly, because the squadron is involved in several missions, such as joint exercises with the Army [click to enlarge].

These three helicopters belong to the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal). They have returned to the airshows in 2005 and now has three Alouette III with their own paint scheme [click to enlarge].

One SA-330 Puma was present in the exposition. The Puma was replaced by the new EH-101 Merlin in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

CTOE: Portuguese Special Operations

The first part of an article about the Centro de Tropas de Operações Especiais (CTOE, Center of Special Operations Troops) had been published in the May issue of Fuerzas Militares del Mundo (www.fuerzasmilitares.com).

This article is the result of a previous visit to the unit, located in Lamego, north of Portgal. The CTOE, created in 1960, is now part of the Brigada de Reacção Rápida (Quick Reaction Brigade).

MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTED IN: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and USA.

Pedro Monteiro

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rotores de Portugal

The 552 Squadron "Zangões" flies the Portuguese Alouette III fleet, an helicopter which is in service since 1963. Though it is a veteran, this machine has now a new role as part of the acrobatic team Rotores de Portugal (Blades of Portugal). They have already an official website online with fresh news and excellent photos.

This image shows their leaflet for the year of 2008 which is ilustred with photos by Ricardo Nunes, André Carvalho and by myself and designed by Miguel Amaral, one of the members of the Templar Squadron Ilustred Profiles.

Pedro Monteiro