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The Spanish Army participates in 'Orion' exercise in Portugal

Friday, May 11, 2018

Number: 6642

Getting ready for a parachute jump

Getting ready for a parachute jump (Photo:MOE)

Shooting exercise during "Orion" exercise

Shooting exercise during "Orion" exercise (Foto:MOE)

The use of barges during the exercise

The use of barges during the exercise (Foto:BRI XI)

The Spanish Army has participated in "Orion" exercise at "Santa Margarida" Manoeuvre and Shooting Field in Portugal, from the 27th of April to the 8th of May, with the Mechanized Brigade (BRIMEC in Spanish) of the Portuguese Army, which has been evaluated and certified, and with the participation of countries such as Brazil, France, Lithuania and Rumania.

This time, more than 200 soldiers belonging to 11th "Extremadura" Brigade participated in this exercise; they provided a Mechanized Tactical Subgroup/Group formed in the base of the 1st Company belonging to 1st "Cantabria" Battalion, with two Sections of the Mechanized Infantry in VCI "Pizarro" 2nd Phase, a Section of "Leopard" combat vehicles, coming from the 1st "Mértida" Battalio, and a Section of Support Weapons. Furthermore, an element of logistical support participated too, as well as two batteries belonging to the 11th Field Artillery Group, the 3rd M-109A5 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer Battery and the 1st Light Gun 105mm Tower Howitzer Battery. Both batteries were incorporated in the 15th Altilharia Group, the Organic Artillery Group belonging to the Portuguese Mechanized Brigade.

"Orion" exercise was divided into two phases: a warm-up phase in first place and a second phase consisting in a joint subject of real fire. The first phase was a "Cross Training", in which experiences and procedures were exchanged, as well as the equipments of each country. Moreover, the Mechanized Tactical Subgroup/Group was framed in the BRIMEC in order to develop a warming-up plan and to perform an attack exercise to an enemy defensive position of mechanized Section entity. Once it was conquered, the resistances were cleaned up and protection was given to another objective, in this case, the airport.

11th 'Extremadura' is shown with real fire

The exercises concluded with the participation of the 11th Brigade in the Distinguished Guest Day ("Día del Visitante Distinguido" in Spanish), which consisted in a static exhibition and a combined exercise of real fire, conducted by the Armies of Lithuania, Portugal and Spain, in front of the attentative look of the Defense Minister of Portugal, accompanied by high military commands of his Armed Forces and a delegation of military attachés in Lisboa, including representants of the Baltics and Russia.

The exercise of real fire started with an IED attack (Improvised Explosive Device) to a patrol belonging to the Reconnaissance Section of the Lithuanian Army, with a quick response of the Baltic Troops and the tactical recuperation of one of the vehicles by a Portuguese vehicle. Afterwards, it was fires' turn: the Spanish Artillery pieces, both Towed (Light Gun 105mm) and Self-Propelled (ATP 155mm), together with the heavy Portuguese morters, successfully beat the enemy target. With the smoke curtain already established in the horizon, the opening of the gap started with the coordinated support of the Portuguese and Spanish 2A6 "Leopard" Vehicles. They shot with a great precision and real amunition to the target, with the aim of preparing it for the next infantry intervention on foot. Finally, the target was attacked, occupied and cleaned up thanks to the quick and decided intervention of a "Pizarro" Spanish Section.

Participation of the Spanish Special Operations

An Operational Mobility Team, belonging to 19th "Caballero Legionario Oleaga" Special Operations Bandera from the Special Operations Command, formed by 23 members, was included in a structure of the Portuguese SOTG (Special Operation Task Group), which had, apart from that, with a SOLTU (Special Operation Land Task Unit) and a Portuguese SNIPER Team, who were evaluated and certified during the exercise. In the second phase, developed at the Staff of the Rapid Reaction Brigade, in Tancos, and in "Santa Margarida", it was performed a KLE mission (Key Leader Engagement), a joint task between the Spanish and the Portuguese SOLTU. It was also conducted the Portuguese Parachuting Course in Automatic Opening modality.