New river fleet in Western AmazoniaNew river fleet in Western Amazonia

Major Anderson Xavier Neves

The current knowledge age imposes new challenges to be overcome regarding military activities. Today, the use of military employment materials (MEM) adapted to the new requirements of modern combat and customized to the environment in which they will be used is sought.

In this context, the Amazon Military Command (CMA) develops strategic programs aimed at expanding its capacity to act in the frontier zone. Its area of responsibility encompasses four states of the Federation – Amazonas, Acre, Rondonia and Roraima – which cover about 43% of the Legal Amazon and 25% of the national territory. This geographical immensity is the Western Amazon, coveted for its mineral and natural wealth, characterized by a totally heterogeneous hydrographic network and scarce road network. This situation places the CMA under a priority focus for the Brazilian Army, in order to guarantee the inviolability of this area so noble to national sovereignty.

In view of the above mentioned circumstances, the BWC develops the Embarcações – Nova Frota Fluvial da Amazônia Ocidental program. This initiative aims, in a comprehensive sense, to implement the concept of river fleet, controlling the entire life cycle of the logistical and operational vessels used by the military organizations (OM) subordinated to the CMA. The program, besides bringing direct benefits to the Land Force, also promotes technological innovation and fosters national industry and the Defense Industrial Base (BID), boosting the Defense Product portfolio (PRODE).

It is worth noting that the renovation of the river fleet and the management of the vessels of the Western Amazon Area of Logistics Responsibility (ARPLAO) meets the provisions of Ordinance No. 1968 of the Army Commander, dated December 3, 2019, which approves the Army Strategic Plan (PEEx), cycle 2020-2023. The Army’s Strategic Objective (OEE) is “the intention to improve the terrestrial military logistics system, with the embarked program, in its structural root, having a time frame of 4 to 5 years of development, aiming to consolidate its goals and execution parameters.

The 12th Military Region (12th RM), the Logistics and Administrative Grand Command subordinated to the CMA, was given the task of managing that undertaking. Among its missions, the 12th RM coordinates the employment of its resources to ensure the logistical flow necessary to support the tasks and missions of the ARPLAO, such as making possible the arrival of various supplies coming from the southern regions of Brazil to their destination. Thus, the new river fleet projects a special phase for regional military logistics.

In the scope of the program, the logistical vessels include ferries, push boats and ferryboats. These provide the appropriate capacity to transport personnel and material needed to supply the various OM on the border strip, even those more prominent such as the unique “Cabeça do Cachorro”, geographically located in the upper Negro River region.

Furthermore, special attention must be given to the operational boats. These are military boats with robust capabilities and high deterrent power, equipped with modern optronic means of detection and monitoring, specific motorization and ballistic protection, as well as other configurations customized to the characteristics of the rivers where they will be employed. These vessels are dedicated to the combat of trans-border illicit activities and to external defense, guaranteeing the permanent national objective of sovereignty foreseen in our Magna Carta.

The Fleet Planning and Management Section (SGPF) was created in the 12th Army Regiment in order to meet the necessary control and management of the river resources. This structure plays a fundamental role in regulating procedures for the acquisition, construction, redistribution, maintenance, control, renovation, and disposal of vessels, and in promoting the desirable logistical sustainability and optimization in the use of financial and personnel resources. It is worth noting that the SGPF innovates by collaborating in the training of human resources, spreading the maintenance mentality, and contributing to the correct use and employment of the vessels.

Aligned with the new river fleet, the 12th MR is developing other projects that will enhance the troops’ capacity to act in the Western Amazon area. These projects include the improvement of the structure of multi-class depots, the increase of the port structure along the rivers and the implementation of mechanization, initiating a new phase in Amazonian military logistics. In this way, the logistical and operational OM subordinated to the CMA will benefit, reaching a new level in the transport and flow of supplies and mitigating obstacles arising from the great distances to be covered to the most distant Special Border Platoons (PEF).

As for the results of the Embarkation Program, it is expected that the capacity for patrolling the border will be increased, contributing to the intensification of the control of the waterways that enter the country. Besides this, the goal is to increase logistical readiness, with the river fleet mapped and with a greater possibility of monitoring the life cycle of the MEM, increasing the dissuasive capacity of the CMA troops.

To the extent that the new river fleet contributes to maintaining the sovereignty and preservation of the Amazon, the entire Brazilian society is positively impacted by the results, especially the populations living in regions such as São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Tabatinga, Tefé, among others. Also, indirectly, all governmental agencies that depend on the integrated work with the Brazilian Army will reap the fruits of this initiative, since they can take advantage of the capillarity of the Amazonia Military Command’s wide structure, permanently deployed in the immense Western Amazon.

Finally, aware of its attributions, the CMA is conditioned, on a daily basis, to overcome the existing adversities, training its human resources and modernizing its array of military materials. Driven by the legacy of those who guaranteed our continental immensity, the soldiers of the Brazilian Army present in the Western Amazon, children of the fusion of races, march vibrantly, strengthening the belief of the Brazilian society in the Land Force and understanding the words uttered by the great military chief, Army General Rodrigo Octávio Jordão Ramos, “arduous is the mission to develop and defend the Amazon. Much more difficult, however, was that of our ancestors to conquer and maintain it. All for Amazonia.

Jungle! (Selva)

*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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