EF-18 Hornet Spaniah Air Force
Copyright: Antonio Rodriguez Santana

Exercise DACEX 2018: control and defense of the Canary Islands skies

On the 23rd and 24th of January, the DACEX-18 Exercise, organized by the Combat Air Command (MACOM), was developed in the Canary archipelago, with the support of the MACAN Canary Islands Air Command.

It is an exercise in air defence and airspace control, which aims to train command and control capabilities and defensive air operations. The exercise consisted of three phases: a phase of preparation and deployment of personnel and means, a development phase that will be concentrated in the Canary archipelago and that constitutes the main mission of the exercise and the third phase of withdrawal, in which personnel and aircraft have returned to their units of origin.

One of the objectives has been to test the interoperability and coordination of the different resources and means that make up the system for the defence and control of the airspace of the archipelago.

Thus, in the deployment phase have arrived at the Air Base of Gando different aircraft belonging to the Ala 15 that participated with five fighter-bombers EF-18 Hornet and Group of Schools of Matacán GRUEMA of the Air Base of Matacán (Salamanca) that participated with five Casa Aviojet C-101, participating in various units F-18A Hornet del Ala 46 (Gando Air Base). At the military airfield of Guacimeta, in Lanzarote, a Eurofighter unit belonging to the Ala 11 of the Morón Air Base (Seville) was deployed.

In support of the deployment, the transports of Ala 31 based in Zaragoza participated, with three Hercules C-130 in transport missions and air to air refuelling mission, and an Airbus A-400M.

Also the frigate of the Navy F-101 “Álvaro de Bazán” assigned to the Defense and Air Operations Command (MDOA) participated. A successful naval unit of Spanish manufacture, equipped with modern navigation systems surveillance of the space around it and also with a high combat capacity.

Command and control has been exercised from the Air Operations Center (AOC) of the MACOM together with the ARS (Air Control Center + RAP Production Center + Fusion Post Sensor) of the Command and Control System of the Canary archipelago: Alert and Control Group , Operation Air Circulation Squadron of Las Palmas and air surveillance squadrons number 21 and 22.

The DACEX exercise has been practised in two areas, one north of Gran Canaria and another vast area south of the archipelago reserved for the military activity where aircraft can reach supersonic speeds without interfering with the dense civilian air traffic overflying the islands. Being an exercise in unforeseen attacks on the archipelago we have observed that it has made “scramble” takeoffs at night hours.

Now we can wait for the development of the next exercise, maybe it is the DACT planned abut for the month of November 2018.

Text and photo credits: Antonio Rodriguez Santana