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Exercise "Eagle Eye 20-03" ends succesfully, first joint exercise performed under the COVID19 pandemic

Huelva, (Spain)
September 25, 2020
  • The Aerospace Operational Command (MOA in Spanish) has completed exercise "Eagle Eye 20-03", with the integration of its units assigned to standing operations.

 Aerospace Operational Command's  activated forces  have been integrated into the Air Defence System, as additional forces to the permanent ones. These forces included six Eurofighter aircrafts from the 11th Wing of the Air Force, an Air D efence Unit from the Army's Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command and Navy's frigate F-105 "Christopher Columbus", all assets under the  operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish). It´s remarkable that this is the first operational activity  carried out in a COVID19 environment, and it has therefore been implemented with specific preventive and protective measures.

The synergy successfully achieved by the different units and resources of the Armed Forces during exercise "Eagle Eye 20-03" provides great added value to Spain's defence and is proof of the high level of training and interoperability of the Spanish Armed Forces  despite the obstacles posed by the  COVID-19 pandemic

Joint activities

During this operational activation, the air assets belonging to Wing 11 have operated as air defence aircraft with the same priority and duties as the fighters that permanently carry out the air police mission.

Specifically, these have been the 11th Wing's latest generation swing-role fighters, the Eurofighters. This task has been complemented by the capabilities permanently provided by other Air Force units, as part of the Joint Force Core.

The resources of the Air Defence Unit (UDAA in Spanish) and the frigate F-105 "Christopher Columbus" have contributed to surveillance and security operations, complementing the radar coverage of the Air Surveillance Squadrons of the Air Force.

The UDAA has deployed over 400 troops from seven different units and has also implemented a procedure of prevention and action to diminish potential COVID-19 side effects.

 The "Christopher Columbus" has remained on alert 24 hours a day, these five days, carrying out detection, identification, monitoring and air defence tasks. In total, from the time they left Ferrol until they return, they will have sailed 1,236 nautical miles.

COVID-19 Preventive measures

All units transferred to the MOA have deployed in Huelva implementing strict health protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety first, the "Plus Ultra" (UDAA) has deployed taking into account the application of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as a priority. the planning, took into account the complexity of integrating personnel from more than five different locations deployed in six settlements in the province of Huelva, including the port area.

the UDAA itself,  has created a structure for the activation of action teams in case of affected personnel, with a coordinator, health personnel, disinfection equipment and a contact-tracer. In addition, a deployable first-aid post has been set up as an isolated area for initial control in the event of possible cases.

Regarding the deployment, in order to avoid contact between personnel from different origins, settlements have been set up distinguished by units of origin and independent living areas. Disinfection and protection material has been distributed. For those elements that due to their tactical position require higher mobility and contact between units, separate shifts have been established within the community areas.

All health protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic have been followed by navy and Air Force personnel. Some of these measures include the daily disinfection of flooring areas, cabins and chambers; the mandatory use of hydro-alcoholic gel when accessing each compartment of community use; several shifts for lunches and dinners keeping social distancing as primary rule in place.