The Portuguese Army Brigada de Intervenção (BrigInt) has conducted a live training exercise under the assignment of a contingent to the European Union Battlegroup (EU BG) force as part of Portugal military contribution through the EUROFOR.

The exercise called “ÁQUILA” has been held from 6 to 14 December in the North of Portugal comprising several field positions in the region of Chaves and Vila Pouca de Aguiar cities.

“ÁQUILA” purpose has been to validate the Portuguese participation which comprise the 1º Batalhão de Infantaria (1ºBI) infantry battalion and as well as the National Support Element (NSE) logistic support force. Both units will be on stand from 1 July to 31 December 2011. A high staff personnel cell form part as well to Portugal contribution to the EU BG.

The Portuguese Air Force contributed to the exercise with high staff elements, two light helicopters and a FAC team. A single C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and an F-16 combat aircraft have been included in the exercise as enablers.

The exercise has been defined according “ALISIA” type tactical scenarios.

The 1º BI enmarked to the EU BG which is headed by Lt-Coronel José Manuel Santos Sá includes 631 personnel from the Regimento de Infantaria Nº13 in Vila Real. It is understood that some troops are provided by the Viseu located Regimento de Infantaria Nº14 which one BI is part of BrigInt.

The Portuguese 1º BI comprises the high staff, three infantry companies, a combat support company and a combat service support company.

The NSE which is headed by Major João Paulo Alves, is composed by 144 personnel from the Chaves based Regimento de Infantaria Nº19 who the main task is to provides support to the 1º BI in the areas of maintenance and communications, administration as well to provide sanitary care thanks to a role 1 field hospital which includes a single 4×4 battlefield light tactical ambulance and a associated inflatable tent.

A total of 872 troops have been involved in the exercise including few elements from Portuguese Army engineering, signal and artillery units.

A small force composed by 60 personnel from the Regimento de Cavalaria Nº6 of Braga has been used to serve as an opposite force.

A final major exercise called “DRAGÃO” is to be held during June in the North of the country and could include contingents from France, Spain and Italy. “DRAGÃO 2011” will be preceded by “TOSCANA” and “BORA” exercises to be held in April and May respectively.

Note that the EU BG which is composed by 1500 troops from France, Portugal, Spain and Italy will have an area of operation of 6000 Km from Brussels (Belgium) and is to be ready to be deployed on 5/10 days timeframe. The force will include a main HQ to be based in the region of Paris (France).

EUROFOR (EUROpean FORce) comprise Portugal, France, Spain and Italy. The force is headed by Portuguese Army Major-General José Alberto Martins Ferreira which is in the post since September 2010.

Major-General José Alberto Martins Ferreira heads as well the multinational battlegroup.

EU BG is mainly a land force but will include enablers like air and naval components provided by Spain (sealift capability) and Portugal (close air support and air transport).

During “ÁQUILA” livex exercise, BrigInt has employed 49 of its GDELS-Steyr GmbH PANDUR II wheeled armoured vehicles including three protected ambulances as well as the SIC-T (Sistema de Informação e  Comunicações-Táctico) tactical information system and the SICCE (Sistema de Informação de Comando e Controlo do Exército) command and control system.

Note that when deployed an even when stationed in their units, PANDUR II vehicles are always supported by personnel from the manufacturer.


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