FAB's H-60 Black Hawk plays key role in Operation YanomamiFAB's H-60 Black Hawk plays key role in Operation Yanomami

The Air Force helicopter is the only one capable of reaching the indigenous villages in Yanomami territory

Agência Força Aérea, por Tenente Eniele Santos

One of the most versatile aircraft in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) fleet, the H-60 Black Hawk is a medium size multi-mission military aircraft, used extensively for troop infiltration and exfiltration and for rescue and search and rescue missions; it can travel up to 295 kilometers in one hour.

According to Major Frederico de Brito Machado, Operations Officer of the Seventh Squadron of the Eighth Aviation Group (7/8th GAV – Hárpia Squadron), the H-60, which is part of FAB’s Rotor Wing Aviation, is an aircraft that offers reliability and performance, since it demonstrates versatility and readiness in its challenging missions.

Due to all these features, it is evident the importance of the H-60 Black Hawk for indigenous health rescue actions. It is the only aircraft that can effectively reach the more than 300 indigenous villages located in Yanomami Territory. This is because the infrastructure of the region is not compatible with landings by fixed-wing aircraft. Thus, only the helicopter can easily reach them.

“To reach the villages we only need a small space, about 30 meters, and we can still land safely. We make a controlled approach and the food and aid reaches everyone there,” explains Major Brito.

Performance in Operation Yanomami

Operated by the 7th/8th GAV – Harpy Squadron, the H-60 has been operating daily in the Yanomami region since January 20th, when it was activated by the Aerospace Operations Command (COMAE) to take part in this mission.

In Surucucu, the work carried out by the FAB with the H-60 consists of taking food to the most remote communities. For this, there is a previous planning done in conjunction with the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI) in which, by means of geographic coordinates, it is possible to get the exact location of each Yanomami community. “We take off with about 100 to 120 basic food baskets and deliver 50 in each of the villages,” adds the Commander of the aircraft.

Each day, around three communities are assisted and receive food and medicine. “So, throughout the day, we deliver supplies to up to 10 Communities,” reports one of the pilots of the H-60 Black Hawk, Air Lieutenant Luan Nogueira Liguori.

Also according to Lieutenant Luan Liguori, it is possible to take up to two tons of food baskets. “We embark with a minimum crew, so that we can serve a larger number of villages in a single day,” he adds.

Upon arriving in the villages, the crew members also check the health condition of the indigenous people and, when necessary, perform the aeromedical evacuation of those who are in critical health situations.

According to the Operations Officer of the Hárpia Squadron, some communities are very remote and only with rotary wings is it possible to bring help. “In one of the flights, when we arrived in a certain community, we found ourselves in a very precarious health situation and we were able to attend to the patient and take him to the nearby Health Center, where he was able to receive medical care. Knowing that we can make a difference in someone’s life makes a difference to all of us,” he says.

FAB Rotor Wings

Since 1964, when military personnel carried out a peacekeeping mission for the United Nations Organization (UNO), in the Republic of Congo, aboard the H-19 helicopter, the Rotary Wing Aviation has been present in the history of FAB, with missions such as Operation Drop, in which health professionals and vaccines were transported to communities with difficult access. In addition, security and defense troops were also transported, mobilizing 26 electoral sections, distributed among 10 municipalities.

The Harpy Squadron, based at Manaus Air Base (BAMN), employs the H-60 Black Hawk aircraft in Search and Rescue, Combat Search and Rescue and Aeromedical Evacuation actions, among others. Currently, the 7th/8th GAV has 75 military personnel among pilots, mechanics, equipment operators, and rescue men.

The Pantera Squadron, based in Santa Maria (RS), performs a large scope of missions. Due to the versatility of the H-60 Black Hawk, the 5th/8th GAV helps the country in the most diverse areas of operation, from transporting vaccines to the most inhospitable places in the Amazon to ensuring safe voting, proposed in the delivery of ballot boxes to citizens living in remote locations in Brazil.

The Pelican Squadron, Second Squadron of the Tenth Aviation Group (2º/10º GAV), based at Campo Grande Air Base (BACG), employs the H-60 Black Hawk aircraft in a mission to maintain technical-professional preparation to carry out Search and Rescue, In-flight Rescue and Aeromedical Evacuation actions, among others. With outstanding performance all over the national territory and abroad, the Pelican Squadron is the only Military Organization of the Armed Forces whose main function is to safeguard human life.

The Poti Squadron, on the other hand, located in Porto Velho (RO), acts along the vast land border, as well as adapting to mission delegated Air Force Search and Rescue, Combat Search and Rescue and Escort actions in order to guarantee Brazilian sovereignty.

Photos: Sergeant Lucas Nunes/ CECOMSAER – Video: Sergeant Neris/ CECOMSAER
*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI team ***

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