Brazil, France, Guyana and Suriname carry out combined military operation

Exercises take place in strategic region for Brazil and France

By Second Lieutenant (RM2-T) Augusto Rodrigues – Belém, PA

This Saturday (18), the first edition of the Combined Operation “Fer de Lance” (Spearhead), which brought together military and operational resources of the Armed Forces of Brazil, France, Guyana and Suriname, will come to an end. The operation began on March 11, in French Guiana, where military exercises were conducted that simulated an intervention in the territory of a fictitious country, in the process of being destabilized, with reduced military personnel. The Ocean Support Ship “Iguatemi”, of the Brazilian Navy, was one of the naval means involved in the operation.

The area where the military maneuvers took place is a constant target of operations against illegal mining and fishing activities. This area extends from the Oiapoque region in the extreme north of Brazil, through the coast of French Guyana, to the border with Suriname. This extensive area of the Atlantic is a point of attention for the Armed Forces of Brazil and France. In French Guiana, an overseas territory of France, the European country maintains a Space Center, a rocket launching base in the city of Kourou. 

With the purpose of allowing the exchange of knowledge and developing regional cooperation, Operation “Fer de Lance” is the largest combined French military exercise carried out in South America. The second edition of the event is scheduled for 2025.

Military exercises

The Brazilian Naval Force is represented by 51 military personnel, aboard the Ocean Support Ship “Iguatemi”, which is subordinated to the Northern Naval Patrol Group Command, a Military Organization headquartered in Belém (PA).

During the operation, the crew of the “Iguatemi” carried out the transport of troops from the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the French Army, who landed at the Kourou Space Center. The Brazilian ship also simulated an aeromedical evacuation maneuver, carried out together with the French Air Force, and also performed maneuvers of towing a Patrol Ship of the French National Navy and transferring cargo at sea.

“During most of the event, we carried out the so-called interdiction of a maritime area, which is the strict control of an area, where all the vessels that pass through there have to be positively identified. During this event, we simulated other exercises, such as the need for real shooting, we sent a special group to search a vessel that was, simulatively, carrying illicit material. I am sure that, at the end of the exercise, our interoperability was strengthened,” says the Commander of the Northern Naval Patrol Group, Sea and War Captain Ondiara Barbosa.

Asymmetric Threats

The exercise program foresees training on prevention and combat of asymmetric threats. In military doctrine, the concept of asymmetric threat is considered as a new trend in international conflicts or conflicts between nations and non-state groups, which do not follow international law for armed clashes. The execution of operations of this nature requires great command and control capabilities, with increased use of intelligence.

The operation simulated stealthy approaches, during nighttime hours, of vessels operated by paramilitary groups. “Our opponent in this case does not have the same firepower as us, nor does he use conventional means. Always with the purpose of causing some material damage or forcing the procedures of the use of Force to be done improperly. When these contacts approached, our vigilance, very attentive, would illuminate them with spotlights, call on the radio, try to identify them positively, alert them so they could move away, and use the force proportionally,” commented Commander Ondiara Barbosa.

Ocean Support Ship (NApOc) “Iguatemi “

Incorporated to the Brazilian Navy in 2018, the NApOc “Iguatemi” is able to operate in logistical support, search and rescue, patrol and naval inspection missions. With 63.40m in length, the Ship is equipped with two 12.7mm (0.50in) machine guns and two 7.62mm machine guns.

The purpose of the Operation was to enable knowledge exchange and develop regional cooperation. During the commission, exercises were carried out at sea, troop transport, towing, tactical maneuvers, air operations, shooting over surface targets, as well as visit and inspection group actions. 

Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias

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