The Brazilian Air Force ‘s Orungam Squadron has successfully completed Exercise Orunganitas II, which marked the beginning of the armed employment of the P-3AM Orion aircraft.

During the exercise, the aircraft dropped ten bombs against targets on the Marambaia firing range, which is located 18km away from Santa Cruz Air Force Base (BASC), in Rio de Janeiro.

According to Orungan Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Antonio Ferreira de Lima Junior, the unit is now ready to explore the weapons capability of the aircraft

Lima Junior said: "We have trained the crew and tested the accuracy of the weapon system."

The squadron is already planning the next exercise and is expected to launch torpedoes next year, he added.

Primarily designed for use in the monitoring and protection of marine areas and natural resources of the Amazon, the P-3AM Orion also supports search-and-rescue (SAR) activities in the South Atlantic region, which falls under the responsibility of Brazil.

"We are working to protect Brazilian territorial waters, the economy and hence the population."

Powered by four Allison T56-A-14 turboprop engines, the P-3 Orion is currently used for maritime patrol, reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare missions by multiple navies and air forces across the globe.

The Second Air Force (II MEF) commander brigadier Roberto Ferreira Pitrez said: "We are working to protect Brazilian territorial waters, the economy and hence the population."

The Brazilian Air Force recently completed the Gripen NG contract procedures with Saab to acquire 36 fighters.

Saab is expected to deliver the first aircraft in 2019, while the deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2024.