The multi-service exercise SATER 02-19 took place June 18, 2019 on Comando Base Aeromobili del Corpo delle Capitanerie di Porto — Guardia Costiera, Italy’s Coast Guard Air Service Base located in Sarzana (SP). The objective was to foster the capability to plan and execute complex air rescue operations, and to improve the training of SAR, coordination centers’ and ground units’ personnel in managing day and night search-and-rescue operations in mountainous terrain, while developing procedures commonality.
The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps, or CNSAS (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico) coordinated ground unit operations, while the Italian Air Force’s Air Operation Command, or COA (Comando Operazioni Aeree) based in Poggio Renatico (FE) deployed a command-and-control unit dubbed Posto Base Avanzato (Forward Base Camp) to coordinate rotary-wing operations.
The exercise featured four distinct day and night events, simulating the search for lost and injured mountain and cave tourists by CNSAS’ and Guardia di Finanza Alpine Rescue ground units, supported by the participating SAR helicopters: 1 Coast Guard AW 139CP, 1 Air Force HH 139A, 1 AB412 and 1 NH500 supplied by Guardia di Finanza (Customs and Frauds Police). The rescue operations were set into the Aveto and the Portofino Regional Natural Parks on the Monte Aiona’s peak and at the Gambatesa mine.
The large exercise confirmed the key importance of establishing a good synergy among participants to effectively protect human life and saw participation by about 150 operators, belonging to: CNSAS, Air Force, Coast Guard, Guardia di Finanza, 118 Liguria and Protezione Civile Liguria. Aggregate flight time was about 12 hours, to insert and extract 10 SAR squads.
This author would like to thank Aeronautica Militare 15° Stormo, specifically 1°Lt Daniele Ruffilli, and the Coast Guard’s Comando Base Aeromobili at Sarzana (SP), specifically S.Ten.V. Gabriele Carella for their kind hospitality and support.
Images and text by Fabio Castelvetri
Produced by Giorgio Ciarini