The proud flag of Brazil
Not surprisingly, the Brazilian Airforce was the largest participant in exercise CRUZEX 2004. Most types in the Brazilian inventory attended.
AMX close-up
One of the SAR Bandeirantes
A C-98 Caravan of the Brazilian Airforce
Specially marked Mirage 3EBR (F-103E)
Scheduled to be withdrawn during 2005 this year's edition of CRUZEX could well have been the last for the Brazilian Mirage 3EBR (F-103).
F-103 trailing its dragchute F-103E on the flightline
F-5E taking off from Natal
Brazilian F-5s flew with both the Blue and Red Forces during operation CRUZEX 2004. The Blue Forces F-5s operated from Natal while the Reds flew theirs from Fortaleza.
F-5E taxies at Natal F-5E at Fortaleza
The indigenous A-1 AMX also operated with both the Blue and Red Forces. A few had been painted in the new grey/green colours which includes low vis markings. Three A-1s flew from Fortaleza, nine from Natal.
Pilots from Santa Maria
A-1 AMX in new colours
A-1 AMX at the Natal flightline
Operating from Mossoro: AT-26 Xavante
The veteran AT-26 Xavante still soldiers on at Natal. For CRUZEX 2004 a number of them were detached to the airport of Mossoro were they acted as aggressor aircraft for the Red Forces.
AT-26 Xavante taking off
Xavantes at Natal
R-99A landing at Natal
Brazil's newest special mission aircraft in the shape of the R-99A and R-99B participated in CRUZEX 2004. They basically have an AWACS and J-STARS role. Photorecce was provided by the R-35A Learjets from Recife, one example operating from Natal.
A R-35A Learjet
The R-99B at Recife
Ex-Italian C-130H
Brazil's fleet of (K)C-130 and KC-137 aircraft was heavily used during CRUZEX 2004. The same goes for the ubiquitous Bandeirante aircraft which showed up in various disguises. Most interesting variant was the P-95A/B patrolaircraft flying from Fortaleza.
KC-137 at Recife airport
P-95 patrol Bandeirante at Fortaleza
Veteran UH-1H Huey at Natal
A number of helicopters operated from the various CRUZEX-bases for liaison-, SAR- and evacuationtasks. They included the UH-1 Huey, UH-50 Esquilo and CH-34 Super Puma.
CH-34 Super Puma
UH-50 Esquilo
One of ten A-27 Tucanos at Recife
Brazil's Tucanos were also heavily involved in the exercise. The basic A-27 and T-27 Tucano could be seen operating from Natal and Recife. The brandnew Super Tucano flies from Natal and will surely participate in future editions of CRUZEX.
Camouflaged Tucano taking off A-29B Super Tucano taking off
Many thanks to Major Lorenzo for making our visit to CRUZEX 2004 possible. Also many thanks to LtCol Mebs at Fortaleza and Major Frederico at Recife. Muito obrigado!

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©Robin Polderman 2004