US-BANGLADESH JOINT AIR EXERCISE ‘COPE SOUTH’ CONCLUDES
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
The week-long joint exercise by Bangladesh and the US air forces ended on Thursday.
Styled ‘Cope South-2015’, it was the fourth of its kind bilateral exercise focused on conducting tactical airlift operations to ensure better disaster response.
During the exercise, airmen of both forces conducted cooperative flight operations including aircraft generation and recovery, low-level navigation and subject-matter exchanges in operations, maintenance and rigging disciplines.
They also exchanged airlift, air-land, and airdrop delivery techniques and also worked towards the development and expansion of combined airlift capabilities.
The exercise was also conducted to enhance the wing’s ability to respond to regional disasters aimed at deepening military-to-military relationships between the countries.
This is a flagship exercise of the BAF as it is focused on disaster response which, airmen say, is crucial for a country like Bangladesh.
The US Pacific Air Force brought one C-130 aircraft while Bangladesh deployed three such aircrafts during the exercise.
C-130 is regarded as the best transport aircraft in the world.
One of the features of the C-130 is that it can transport troops and equipment in the combat zone via airdrop using short runways.
Besides, enhancing capability during any natural disaster, the objective of the exercise was to ensure maximum utilization of BAF transport aircraft and develop interoperability between the forces.
Paratroopers of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy also participated in the exercise.
Lieutenant Colonel of the US force Rick Richard said that this was “one of the best” exercises he had taken part in.
“The cooperation, hospitality we received was overwhelming,” he told bdnews24.com.
Air Officer Commanding of BAF Base Bangabandhu Air Commodore Mohammad Obaidur Rahman distributed certificates among the participants.
He said the exercise had enhanced experiences of Bangladesh force in operations and maintenance.
He said ‘Bangladesh observers’ in the US aircraft had also learnt different procedures and techniques that the US force followed. This, he said, would be “useful” in future operations.
Chargé ď Affaires of the US Embassy David Meale, who was present at the closing ceremony, said the exercise helped building partnership between the forces.
“In case of a large natural disaster, if government of Bangladesh requests the US support, the interoperability developed between the BAF and the Pacific force will help in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for people of Bangladesh and for other people of the region,” he said.
He said military cooperation was “one of the most striking features” of the bilateral relations.
“I am very impressed to see the cooperation,” he added.
JANUARY 29, 2015