Yanomami: understanding how airspace policing measures work to combat illegal miningYanomami: understanding how airspace policing measures work to combat illegal mining

By Suellen Siqueira – Special Advisory for Social Communication (Ascom)

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) activated an Air Defense Identification Zone (Zida) in the Northern Region of the country. The measure, in compliance with Presidential Decree No. 11,405, of January 30, 2023, aims to expand the fight against illegal mining activities in Roraima, in the context of Operation Yanomami, in the indigenous communities of that territory.The airspace within the Zida is divided into three distinct areas and separated by colors, according to the level of access: white (reserved area), yellow (restricted area) and red (prohibited area). FAB is responsible for adopting Airspace Control Measures (AOCM) against any kind of suspicious traffic, to ensure that the rules are respected. In the red area, only military aircraft and those involved in the operation are allowed to fly over.

Aircraft that fail to comply with the procedures established by the Air Force are subject to the MPEA. These are established by the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System (Sisdabra) to identify suspicious and unknown traffic, and to detect possible illicit activities focused on maintaining Brazil’s sovereignty.

Policing measures – Aircraft can be submitted to remote identification to check flight data and registration (aircraft registration). In case of suspicion, they are subjected to interrogation procedures by the aircraft on alert (on the ground or in flight), which may result in a request for a change of route and obligatory landing at a location previously established by the Aerospace Operations Command (Comae). In this case, after the landing, already in coordination with the public security agencies, the aircraft will undergo ground control measures for verification.

In case of non-compliance with the measures, warning shots may be fired and, as a last resort, shots to arrest the offenders. Actions of this type have the potential to cause damage, preventing the continuation of unauthorized flights in the region.

Interceptions – From 2019 to July 2022, 652 interceptions were conducted with Brazilian Air Force aircraft in the national airspace, in events related to air defense missions. As a result, 16 aircraft and 5.5 tons of drugs were seized.

Decree – Decree 11,405 was issued by the President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and signed by the Ministers of State of Defense, José Múcio Monteiro Filho; of Justice and Public Safety, Flávio Dino; and of the Original Peoples, Sonia Guajajara. The document determines: 1) the confrontation of a public health emergency of national importance due to the health crisis of the Yanomami population, and 2) the combat against illegal mining.

Photos: FAB – Ministry of Defense (MD) *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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