With the end of the cold war, and a number of new security threats arising, NATO underwent a thorough reassessment of the security threats facing it the future. As a result of these assessments, and the resurgence of ethnic and nationalistic tensions in many European countries, a number of NATO members under took reorganizations within their armed forces. The Portuguese military reorganized and modernized many of its units to allow them to respond more quickly to any potential military or humanitarian crisis that could arise.
One of the new units formed during this reorganization period was a new Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) Detachment. The unit is assigned as the Portuguese component of the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force (Land), or AMF (L). AMF is brigade sized unit, tasked with rapidly responding within 72 hours to any crisis arising in Europe. The Detachment has participated in AMF(L) operations since January 1997.
The 48 man Detachment was raised in 1996 and is tasked with performing missions similar to the US Army's Special Forces or British SAS. Some of these missions include conducting Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols, raids against high value targets, locating enemy command and control centers, targeting and destruction of enemy air defense, and radar systems, and POW rescue operations. The unit can be infiltrated by parachute, helicopter, small boat, or by foot. The Detachment is capable of operating independently behind enemy lines for a period of up to ten days.
The unit is composed of a special operations platoon, medical section, communications section, and transportation section. The special operations platoon is subdivided into a six-command section and four five man patrols. The communications section provides secure link between operational teams, and higher headquarters. The transportation section is equipped with six trucks and two all-terrain vehicles. They provide transport of the units equipment and supplies. The unit has participated in a number of AMF (L) exercises including deployments to Norway; for cold weather training.
Currently the Detachment is equipped with weapons of Israeli and German manufacture; including the G-3 rifle and HK MP-5 SMGs, Israeli Galil rifles and Uzi SMGs. Other equipment is obtained from various manufactures on as needed basis.
* Most of the above information was obtained from "Freedoms Thunderbolt: Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land)*