Tag Archives: Ecuador

Exit Dhruv in Ecuador

After two crashes reportedly due to a pilot error and two presumably due to a technical problem, the Ecuadorian Armed Forces are now retiring the three remaining HAL Dhruv light helicopters from active service.

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Defence has confirmed the decision, according to press agency AP.

While the branches of the Indian military are flying about 200 Dhruv’s exports have been very limited with Ecuador as the only real showcase with a substantial number of Dhruvs in service since 2009, until now.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The HAL Dhruv (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Cruzex Crusade

Rarer than a polar bear in the Amazon; A-37 Dragonflies form Uruguay, ready to go on the runway of Natal airbase, Brasil. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Rarer than a polar bear in the Amazon; OA-37 Dragonflies from Colombia, ready to go on the runway of Natal airbase, Brasil. (Image © Ralph Blok)

It’s funny how certain things go by largely unnoticed by major news networks who are otherwise quick to pick up on things. Take for example Cruzex 2013, the multinational exercise now taking place in the skies over Brazil. Taking part in this military exercise are the air forces of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and last but not least … Venezuela and the United States, who until recently weren’t on very friendly terms with each other. AIRheads↑Fly guest photographer Ralph Blok went on a crusade to Natal Air Force Base in Brazil to see how things were working out.

Cruzex stands for Cruzeiro do Sul Exercise, an exercise that aims to train aircrews in modern war situation. The 2013 edition is actually the seventh edition of this South American multinational exercise. Main operating bases are Natal in Brazil, and Recife which is situated south of Natal. A total of 2000 crew and other personnel are involved, bringing along 86 aircraft, ranging from Chilean and US F-16s to exotic and rare A-37 Dragonfly and – even more rare! –  FMA IA 58 Pucara aircraft from Uruguay.

Cruzex 2013 started on November 4 and will end November 15. Missed it? Simply look below and remember; there’s always next time.

Star of the show? We think so! (Image © Ralph Blok)
Were the Uruguayans the stars of the show? We think so! (Image © Ralph Blok)
Uruguay sent not only A-37s, but also this Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucara. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Uruguay sent not only A-37s, but also this Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucara. (Image © Ralph Blok)
At Natal, aircraft operated from sun shelters. In the background, US F-16s of 113th Wing, DC Air National Guard, are seen. (Image © Ralph Blok)
At Natal, aircraft operated from sun shelters. In the background, US F-16s of 113th Wing, DC Air National Guard, are seen. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Cruzex 2013 marks the first time forces from Venezuela and the US are training together, after years of political and ideological arguments between the two countries. The death of former Venezuela president Hugo Chávez in March this year, clearly changed the mood. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Cruzex 2013 marks the first time forces from Venezuela and the US are training together after years of political and ideological arguments between the two countries. The death of former Venezuela president Hugo Chávez in March this year, clearly changed the mood. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The first F-16 was delivered to Venezuela in 1983, making the country one of the very first operators of the type. The Venezuela Vipers at Natal looked spotless. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The first F-16 was delivered to Venezuela in 1983, making the country one of the very first operators of the type. The Venezuela Vipers at Natal looked spotless. (Image © Ralph Blok)
More from (Image © Ralph Blok)
More from the DC Air National Guard. These aircraft normally operate from Andrews AFB, Washington DC. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Perfect light on this F-16C Fighting Falcon. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Perfect light on this F-16C Fighting Falcon. (Image © Ralph Blok)
It gets interesting here in the background.... Two Brazilian F-5EM Tigers look on while a US F-16C passes by. (Image © Ralph Blok)
It gets more interesting here in the background … Two Brazilian F-5EM Tigers look on while a US F-16C passes by. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Time now for the home crowd to take the stage; an F-5EM from the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) rolls by Ralph Blok's camera. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Time now for the home crowd to take the stage; an F-5EM from the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) thunders by Ralph Blok’s camera. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The ATC tower provides and even better platform for photograpy. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The ATC tower provides and even better platform for photography. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Brazil received its first Mi-35M Hinds in April 2010. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Brazil received its first of twelve Mi-35M Hinds in April 2010. The FAB calls them AH-2 Sabre. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The participation of FAB Mirage 2000s was a bit of a surprise, as the Brazil is expected to stop flying the type in December. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The participation of FAB Mirage 2000s was a bit of a surprise, as Brazil is expected to stop flying the type in December. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Twelve Mirage 2000s - among which several duals - are operated by the Brazilians. All are ex French Air Force fighters. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Twelve Mirage 2000s – among which several dual-seaters – are operated by the Brazilians. All are ex-French Air Force fighters. (Image © Ralph Blok)
No less than 99 A-29's were ordered by Brazil. (Image © Ralph Blok)
No less than 99 A-29s were ordered by Brazil. Of these, 33 are of the single seat A-29A version, one of which is seen here. The final aircraft was delivered in June 2012. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Tropical surroundings, lovely UH-60L Black Hawk, gorgeous light. What more can you ask for? (Image © Ralph Blok)
Tropical surroundings, lovely UH-60L Black Hawk, gorgeous light. What more can you ask for? (Image © Ralph Blok)
Well, we could ask for an A-1, the Brazilian variant of the AMX. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Well, we could ask for an A-1A, the Brazilian variant of the AMX. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Ecuador operates a total of 18 Super Tucanos, and sent a few of them to Cruzex 2013. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Ecuador operates a total of 18 Super Tucanos, and sent a few of them to Cruzex 2013. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Chile was also present at Natal, sending former Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcons from Antofagosta. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Chile was also present at Natal, sending former Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcons from Antofagosta. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The home crowd from Brazil! (Image © Ralph Blok)
This month, Natal was the place to be. (Image © Ralph Blok)

A lot of thanks to Ralph Blok for sharing his pictures here at AIRheads↑Fly. More of his photographic work can be seen here.

© 2013 Ralph Blok & AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest

Related posts