The Portuguese 502 Squadron “Elefantes”: Leveraging the C-295M

06/14/2011: During the Airbus Trade Media event, the 502 Squadron Commander, Major Dina Azevedo, discussed the mission sets, which the Command performed, and how they used the C-295M in meeting mission needs. She has been based at Seville, Spain as part of the initial acceptance team and then became the Squadron commander.  The Portuguese are receiving 12 C-295Ms for transport, search and rescue, medical evacuation, with five optimized for maritime surveillance and two for photo reconnaissance.

The normal operational areas are contiguous Portuguese waters and the Mediterranean, although obviously can be deployed globally with proper support capabilities.  The planes can operate for 10 hours on average at a cruising speed of 240 knots.The Portuguese are using the aircraft to provide for a wide range of mission sets.  They will configure their planes for general transport or VIP transport or medical evacuation mission sets.  Search and rescue is a core mission capability, and photoreconnaissance capabilities used for a variety of maritime surveillance missions important to Portugal.She discussed fisheries surveillance, monitoring and controlling illicit activities, monitoring and controlling maritime traffic, and pollution monitoring and control.Having the core capabilities perform such safety and security missions’ means as well the Squadron can support military missions in the maritime environment.The slides in the slideshow focus largely on her discussion of the customization of the aircraft to provide for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.  The point was driven home that the aircraft has several capabilities integrated by the Service to provide for surveillance, monitoring and enforcement maritime activities.

Photo Credit for Photo’s 1 and 2:

SLD 2011

Photo Credit for photos 3-13:

502 Portugese Squardron “Elepfantes”

She concluded by examining a series of scenarios of operations in Portuguese waters of how the systems are used to achieve the desired results. The first situation is monitoring the Portuguese continental coast, which covers approximately 1600 nautical miles.  With aircraft, they can cover 1400 nm and spend three hours over an area of interest.

  • The second situation is monitoring the waters around the Azores.  This also is an area of approximately 1600 nautical miles.  Their experience has been the ability to cover either 1600nm and have the ability to be over an area of interest for two hours or cover 1800nm and have thee ability to be over an area of interest for one hour.
  • The third mission involves dealing with the Madeira Coast. This is a Portuguese archipelago that lies just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union. Here with the C-295M, they can cover the Coast over 1600nms with 2 hours loitering over an area of interest or operate 1000nms from the Portuguese home territory and operate up to five hours over an area of interest. They have also used the aircraft in dealing with illegal immigration missions, notably from the upheaval from North Africa.  The Portuguese are providing support to the European Union immigration control missions.  The demand for maritime patrol aircraft to provide for such missions outstrips supply.

Major Azevedo concluded that the aircraft has good endurance capabilities, can operate off of short fields, with state of the art equipment, including the communications suites, for the core missions.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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