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Portuguese Army enhances special operations capabilities with new equipment

Portuguese FOE operator, equipped with the PRC-148 JEM, HK416A5, AN/PVS-21, and ATAK systems. (Victor Barreira)

The Portuguese Army is equipping its special operations unit, the Força de Operações Especiais (FOE), with a range of new weapons and systems.

The 100-strong FOE is part of the Special Operations Troops Centre (CTOE) based in Lamego and is composed of a command staff, six special operations task units (SOTUs), and a command and support company.

FOE relies on the Special Operations Force Implementation Plan (PIFOE) introduced in 2016, and other projects that fall under the country‘s Military Programming Law, for the acquisition of equipment, the FOE‘s Deputy Commander Major António Lopes told Janes .

A variety of surplus equipment was received in 2021 from other army units, mainly 12.7 mm M2HB-QCB and 7.62 mm MAG machine guns (MGs), 40 mm GMG automatic grenade launchers, and Carl-Gustaf M2U anti-armour weapons, as well as eight Defender 130 Td4 SOPS 4×4 assault vehicles for training.

This complemented equipment received between 2017 and 2021, including Heckler 5.56 mm HK416A5 and 7.62 mm HK417A2 assault rifles, FN Herstal 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm MINIMI MK3 light MGs, 9 mm Glock 17 Gen 5 FS personal defence weapons, 12-gauge Fabarm STF/12 Compact FE shotguns, and 7.62 mm Heckler & Koch G28E, .308 Win Accuracy AX308, and .50 Barrett M107A1 precision rifles. Communications equipment included Thales PRC-148 JEM, and EID PRC-525 multiband radios. Steiner AN/PVS-21 night-vision goggles (NVGs) and Parrot ANAFI USA unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were also received.

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