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                          Last update 05-11-2016



  The first KC-130H tanker arrived at Campo dos Alfonsos AB (Rio de Janeiro) on 03-10-75
  followed by the second one on 18-12-75.
  They were attached to the 2° Esquadrao/1° Grupo de Transporte de Tropa "Cascavel";
  in-flight refuelling of F-5s contemporaneously was possible and they kept the ability to
  operate as cargoes.
  In-flight refuelling training started immediately, enabling to demonstrate this capability
  for the first time on 21-04-76 at Anapolis AB (Brasilia) and on 22.04.76 at the yearly Dia
da Caça (Fighter Day) at S Cruz AB. This last event was attended by 28 F-5s, 2 showing this capability,
while the others, including some with a reconnaissance nose, showed their fighter-bombing capability.

In 1985 the 2°/1° GTT passed its Lockheed KC-130H to the 1°Esquadrao/1° Grupo de Transporte "Gordo"

The Grupo received the two tankers in 1985 but used them exclusively on transportation
  duties. This was changed in 2004 when, on 15-03-04  8 F-5E were in flight-refuelled in
  the sky of Florianopolis.

During the same year (1985) the 2° Esquadrao/2° Grupo de Transporte "Corsario" was
  activated, supplementing with its 3 Boeing KC-137 the KC-130H of the 1°/1°GT and
  enabling much more flexible refuelling conditions.

                F-5E 4826 being refuelled in flight during exercise Cruzex, August 2004.



Intensive training allowed a first cross-country exercise to be held starting on 29-06-77, when 4 F-5E from 1°/14° GAv took-off from Canoas AB and landed, after a 3 hr 45 min  flight, at Fortaleza. They had flown 3'500 kms non-stop, at a heighth of 10'000 meters, being in-flight refuelled over Belo Horizonte by an KC-130H; contemporaneously the 1° Grupo de Caça also transferred some Tigers to Fortaleza.

The end of 1977, between 12 and 17th December, saw the transfer to Fortaleza of the two Tiger equipped Grupos de Aviaçao to participate to the 36th Tournament of Fighter Aviation, together with the Mirage equipped ALA, the Embraer AT-26 equipped 1°/4° GrAv, 3° Esq. de Instruçao Aerea and the Neiva AT-28 equipped CATR

During the annual air-to-ground excercises at Natal, the 1°GAv takes care for the air defence of Southern Brazil from Canoas AB whe locally based 1°/14° GAv is dilocated to Natal AB.

Norhrop F-5E aerobatic capabilities have enthusiasted Brazilian crowds during many air shows that have been held during years all over the country as part of the public relations activities of the Força Aerea Brasileira.
Among them the yearly "Dia da Caça" (April 22nd) to celebrate the participation of the Brazilian af to the World War 2. All fighter units, including those equipped with Embraer EMB-326/AT-26 and Embraer AMX/A-1, participate to the event.

The  aircrafts gave a fire-power
demonstration with all their
armament (cannons, bombs,
rockets, napalm) until 1999.
After that year only overflights
and an armament show inside
the "Zeppelin" hangar have been
organised due to financial

Overview of Santa Cruz AB on
22-04-04. Note the enormous
size of the "Zeppelin" hangar.
                Photo: Brazilian AF

F-5E 4837 1°GAvCa Santa Cruz 22-04-85 armed with 2 napalm canisters followed by another
armed with 4 canisters. Note last two of serial
written in white on tail.
Photo: The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

                 F-5E 4828 1°/14°GAv Santa Cruz 22-04-85 armed with bombs. Note white last two of serial on
                 tail and Squadron badge on air inlet.                                    
Photo: The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

"Operação Ilha da Magia"
Eight Northrop F-5E of the 1°GAvCa, 5 Embraer EMB RT-26 of the Esquadrao Poker and 1 Boeing KC-137 participated in May 1997 to this exercise, whose aim was fround attack, air defence, low altitude navigation, in-flight refuelling plus tactical reconnaissance operating from Florianopolis AB. Two of the Northrop F-5Es was equipped with underwing Python 3 air-to-air-missiles.

  "Operaçao Pampa 2005": extensive
  combined Army, Navy, Air Force
  exercise in the states of Rio Grande
  do Sul and Paranà between the 10th
  and the 20th October 2005 saw the
  participation of the locally (Canoas)
  based 1°/14° GAvCa in addition to
  Mirage IIID/E, EMB-326, Embraer
  A-1/TA-1, KC-130H, KC-137.
  Also participating (for the first time
  to an exercise) were 1 EMB R-99A
  1 R-99B, both from the 2°/6° GAv,
  for Airborne Early Warning & Control
  (AEW) duties.

  Photo: Brazilian AF

A less glamorous, but important exercise for interoperative use of the forces, took place from 10-12- till 12-12-08 between the F-5EM of the 1° GAvCa and the Douglas AF-1 (Douglas A-4KU) of the Brazilian Navy VF-1 Squadron. All aircrafts were based at Santa Cruz AB, acting alternatively as interceptors or targets.

"Operaçao Laguna"   
This was an air-to-air refuelling excercise on 02-10-09 involving 1 Lockheed KC-130, from Campo Grande AB; 4 Embraer/Northrop F-5 received a total of approximately 12'000 litres fuel in two times each. Additional  aircrafts taking part ot the excercise were Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, Embraer E-99, R-99, Lockeed C-130 and KC-137 together with Army and Navy units.

 Five F-5EM of the 1°/14° GAv
participated from Canoas AB to the exercise "Operaçao Laçador"
 between 16th and 27th November 2009, the biggest combined Army/Navy, Air Force exercise,
 together with Mirage 2000, Embraer A-1s/RA-1,  EMB-326, AT-29, AEW, transport and SAR

"Operação Amazõnia"
This yearly held, joint Army-Navy-Air Force exercise takes place in the north of the country; all kind of aircrafts and helicopters participate to it.  

The 2012 edition started on September 17th; particular attention was given to a new concept of air defence command and control; most used aircrafts (inclusive Northrop/Embraer F-5EM and Embraer AMX/A-1) were based at Manaus but the centre responsible for the execution of the operations was in Rio de Janeiro, more than 4'000 km away.
In-flight refuelling was also extensively trained:
Embraer/Northrop F-5EM (1°/4° GAv) took off from Porto Velho to be refuelled by an KC-130 from the Esquadrao Gordo.

Transportex 2012
Enbedded in this, mainly transport units operation, an inflight-refuelling exercise took place on 22-03-12; one Boeing KC-137 of the 2°/2° Grupo de Transporte refuelled 2 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM out of Belem AB.

"Barao I"
This exercise was specifically hold between the 26th and 30th March 2012 to train new pilots pilots in the in-flight refuelling technics, both during the day and night. Embraer/Northrop F-5M from the 1°/14° GAV and 1°/4° GAV were involved from Canoas AFB, refuelling from Lockheed KC-130 Hercules of the 1°/1° GT.

Domestic Training
Newly re-equipped 1°/4° GAV has conducted between the 7th and the 17th May 2013 air-combat exercises with air-refuelling and interception missions.

Air-to-air refuelling between 3 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM of 1° GrCaça and the Grupo Aereo de Defensa and Navy' s Esquadrao Douglas A-4, one two-seater and one single-seater, was for the first time excercised on 18-10-16 till 26-10-16 from Anäpolis AB.

   Photo: FAB Major Romanelli
                Embraer/Northrop F-5EM 4847 flight-refuelled by Navy TA-4 N-1021.


Starting from 1977 Brazilian F-5Es, based at Salvador AB, have participated to "Unitas"; mainly a naval exercise with South American (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile) and USA navies participate. Tigers have been active attacking ships after they had been localized by Grumman S-2 Trackers, later by Embraer P-95; in the meantime Embraer A-1s have taken over this role.

The first combined USA/Brazilian "Tiger I" exercise took place at Muniz ANGB, Puerto Rico, between October 17th and 21st 1994. It saw the long transfer to the Carribean island of Northorp F-5Es in conjunction with Embraer AMXs from Santa Cruz AB.

"Tiger II" exercise was held at Natal AB between October 21st and 30th 1995; the Puerto Rico Air National Guard deployed 6 F-16A, 2 F-16B of the 198th Fighter Squadron while the 2°/1° GAvCa and the 1°/14° GAvCa sent 5 Northrop F-5Es and 1 F-5F each, accompanied by Embraer AMXs of the 1°/16° GAvCa and Mirage IIIEBs of the 1° GDA. Mixed formations were flown both for ground attack (F-16/F-5/AMX) as well as air defence (F-16/Mirage) sorties. This was the first time since World War 2 that a USAF unit deployed to Brazil.

This excercise was followed between March 9th and 16th, 1996 by  "Tiger III", the deployment of 5 F-16Cs, 1 F-16D of the US Reserve 93th Fighter Squadron to Santa Maria AB, together with two KC-135 of the 434th Air Refueling Wing. They engaged against Embraer AMX/A-1s and Northrop F-5Es and served to develop A-1 and F-5 tactics to avoid F-16 missile strikes.

During "Tiger III" an USAF KC-135Rs refueled for the first time a Brazilian

F-5Es, using a drogue funnel fitted to the boom as normal USAF air-
refueling booms are not compatible with the F-5 probe. The refuelling
established that the two Air Forces could deploy together.

                                                                                         Photo: USAF
"Operaçao Cruzeiro do Sul": from 29-04-02 till 11-05-02 at Canoas AB; 5 Northrop F-5E of the 1°/1°GAvCa and the locally based Northrop F-5E/F of the 1°/14° GAv participated to the excercise, together with aircrafts from Argentina (6 Mirage 5), France (4 Mirage 2000-5), and Chile (4  Pantera). Operaçao Cruzeiro do Sul was later renamed "Cruzex" and developed into the most important combined South American/European excercise.

"Salitre 2004": the 1°/1°GAvCa, based at Iquique (Chile), with 5 F-5Es in the air-to-air and air-to-ground missions participated from 26-09-04 till 10-10-04, together with Chilean AF Dassault Elkans, Dassault Panteras, Cessna A-37B attack/fighters, transport aircrafts and helicopters; Argentina sent Dassault Mirage IIEA and Daggers, while 6 USAF Gneral Dynamics F-16Cs were also present.

Little is known of the exchange tour of Brazilian pilots with their Chilean colleagues. One pilot of 1° GAv and 1°/14° GAv completed their tour with the Antofagasta based Grupo de Aviacion n°7 at the end of 2007.


 "Cruzex III" took place from 21-08-06 till 01-09-06; 6 F-5EM from 1°/14° GAv, based at

 Campo Grande for air defence and 6 F-5EM, based at Anapolis for air-defence/strike, were
 present in addition to several Brazilian strike-fighters, AEW, transport and rescue aircrafts
 and helicopters.
 Also present were Argentinian 2
McDonnel/Douglas A-4AR, 2 FMA IA.58 Pucarà; France with
 8 Dassault Mirage2000C/N, 1 Boeing E-3F; Venezuela with 3 General Dynamics F-16A,
 3 Dassault Mirage 50, 2 Canadair CF-5A, 1 Boeing KC-707; Chile 6 Cessna A-37B; Uruguay
Cessna A-37C, 3 FMA IA.58 Pucarà.
 This first international F-5EM international excercise was of particular importance due to the
 participation of the advanced French Mirage 2000 fighters as well as of the Embraer R-99A
and French Boeing E-3F Early Warning aircrafts. The combination of the two Embraer aircrafts
and of Derby air-to-air missiles resulted in at least one victorious duel against the French combination,
according to unofficial infomation, two Mirage 2000C and 1 Mirage 2000N.

 "Cruzex IV" took place at Natal AB between the 1st and 14th November 2008, with the
 participation of 6 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM of the
1° GAvCa and 1°/14 GAvCa, GAMD
 Mirage 2000(Brazil), GD F-16 (USA, Chile, Venezuela), Embreaer A-29 (Brazil, Ecuador)
 IA-58 Uruguay and Cessna A-37 (Colombia, Uruguay).

 "Cruzex V" followed between 18-10-10 and 19-11-10 with the participation of 
 Northrop F-5EM belonging to the 1° Grupo de Aviaçao de Caça acting as aggressors against
 French Rafales, USAF and Chilean F-16s, Argentinian A-4R and Uruguayan A-37 from
 Fortaleza AB, in-flight refuelled by one Lockheed KC-130 of the 1°/1° Grupo de Transporte.

   "Cruzex Flight VI" 16 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM and 1 Embraer/Northrop F-5FM belonging
   to the
1° GAvCa, the 1°/14 GAvCaça and the 1°/4 GAvCaça were present at Natal AB
   between 04-11-13 and  15-11-13. They mixed with Brazilian Mirage 2000 and
   Embraer AMX/A-1, RA-1,
F-16s belonging to Chile, the USAF (AIM-120 armed), Venezuela;
   Cessna A-37 from Colombia, Uruguay, Embraer A-29 from Ecuador. Focus was on co-opera-
   tion between aircrafts of different countries. Two Embraer E-99 (Emb-145) provided detection
   of participating aircrafts at low altitude.
On November 2nd 2 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM and 2 GAMD Mirage 200 were for the first time in-flight refuelled by a Colombian Boeing KC-767; 4 Colombian A-37s were in return in-flight refuelled by an Brazilan Lockheed KC-130 the same day.

Red Flag
The Força Aerea Brasileira participated for the first time to  (Red-Flag 08 3) in the year 2008 with 6 Embraer F-5EM of the 1°/14° GAv, taking place at Nellis AFB between July 21st and August 1st; the aircrafts had mainly escort duties for fighter-bombers (Turkish F-16s, Swedish Gripens), bombers (Boeing B-52s) and AEW aircrafts operating against AIM-120 AMRAAM armed McDonnell F-15C and General Dynamics F-16CG operating in an BVR scenario. The aircrafts performed with great success, even though not all integrated systems were operational as the software had not yet obtained the definitive certification and the Data Link abd the Helmet Mounted Display were not yet installed.

             Photo: Brazilian AF
Three Embraer/Northrop F-5EM queing up to be in-flight refuelled on their way to Nellis AFB

"Salitre 2014" was kept at Antogasta (Chile) from 06-10-14 till17-10-2014; 4 Embraer F-5EM of the 1 Grupo de Aviaçao de Caça participated in the air-to-air role to it. One Lockheed KC-130 provided in-flight refuelling. Opponents were Chilean Northrop F-5E and General Dynamics F-16 plus Argentinian Douglas A-4, Uruguyan A-37 and USAF General Dynamics F-16s.
An operational availability of 95 percent was reached during more than 30 missions.


Interception of a British Vulcan
The Falkland/Malvinas war gave an unexpected opportunity to test the air defence organisation and the Northrop F-5E.
On June 3rd, 1982 Avro Vulcan Mk B.2 (serial XM597) returning from a strike mission armed with two live Westinghouse AGM-45 Shrike anti-radar missiles had an emergency situation; it had been hit by the Argentine Port Stanley anti-aicraft defence at its fuel system. The crew decided to land at Rio de Janeiro-Galeao civil airport; two AIM-9B Sidewinder armed Northrop F-5E were scrambled from Santa Cruz AB to intercept the, till that moment, unknown aircraft. This was intercepted when it was already on Brazilian territory.

Northern Air Defence
Retirement of the Anapolis AB based Mirage IIIE on 31-12-05 gave, from 31-12-05, alternatively to the 1° GAv and 1°/14° GAv the task to defend, with 2 F-5E, the Northern part of the country until the arrival of Mirage 2000s bought in France. The first 2 Tigers (serials 4820, 4827 from 1°GAv) arrived at Natal AB on 14-12-05 during the Mirage retirement ceremony. The new Mirages arrived at Anapolis AB on 27-09-07, releasing shortly after the F-5s from their Northern Air Defence duties.

Withdrawal of the Mirage 2000 at the end of 2013 saw again 
Embraer/Northrop F-5EM taking over air defence over the area around Brasilia, at least until a Saab J-39 will be available.

These operations, in collaboration with the Army and fluvial Navy, concentrate
against illegal trafficking of drugs, arms and merchandise along Brazilian borders; the Tigers are used as air cover for the attacking aircrafts.

Agata 1 operation in August 2011 was along the border with Colombia with  the participation of four Embraer/Northrop F-5EM in combination with 5 Super Tucanos on 10-08-11 of the 1°/4° GAV, 2 Embraer R-99, 2 UH-60 and one Cessna C-98.

Agata 2 was the second operation, starting on 16-09-11, this time along the border with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, in September 2011
with the participation of Embraer/Northrop F-5EM, Super Tucano and Sikorsky UH-60 and transport aircrafts/helicopters.

Agata 3, a large scale operation along the 7'000 km border with Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay starting 22-11-11.
Embraer/Northrop F-5EM, Embraer A-1 and Super Tucanos participating to the operation were based at Tabatinga, Campo Grande, Cuiaba, Vilhena and Porto Velho.

  Photo: Brazilian AF/Sgt Batista
Embraer/Northrop F-5EM 4873 landing at Porto Velho AB on 20-11-11 in preparation of operation Agata 3.

 Agata 4 began on 02-05-11. The Northern border with Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam
 and  French Guyana was controlled with Embraer/Northrop F-5EM fighters, ground
attack, early  warning, reconnaissance and transport aircrafts.

 Agata 5 lasted 30 days, starting from 06-08-12, along the borders with Bolivia,
 Paraguay,  Argentina and Uruguay; it included air-refuelling of Embraer/Northrop
 F-5EM from Lockheed  KC-130 in order to extend they patrolling time. The air-
 crafts were based at Campo Grande  AB, Canoas AB and Santa Maria AB.

 Agata 6 took off on 09-10-12 in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Rondonia  and Acre bordering Bolivia and Peru; it
involved 4 Embraer/Northrop F-EM, 6 Embraer  A-29 and 10 helicopters.

Agata 7 began on 28-05-13 and ended on 05-06-13 with operations along all bordering states, French Guyana, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay (16'886 km); an enormous enterprise. Embraer/Northrop F-5EM participated from Canoas AB
Agata 1

Early morning take-off for Agata 7 exercise from Canoas AB 28-05-2013

                                                                                                  Photo: Brazilian AF/cb V.Santos

Operations Agata 8 in 2014 and Agata 9 took place respectively in 2014 and 2015; no Embraer/Northrop F-5 are known to have partecipated.

Olympic Games 2016
The Air Force was entrusted to protect Rio de Janeiro's sky during the Olypic Gamens in August 2016. Aircrafts of the 1°/14° Esquadrao and the 1°/4° Gr Av were transferred to the Santa Cruz AB.

Dissimilar combat
Between the 12th and 15th December 2016 the 1°/4° operated an excercise against Embraer A-27 Super Tucano took place between Manaus and Boa Vista. AIr-to-air armament against lower performance aircrafts was trained.