21 October 09

The exercise COPE INDIA 09 at Agra entered the third day. Several exercises were conducted like Paradrop, Heavy drop of light vehicles, Assault landing, and Night Vision Goggles (NVG) operations. But the show stopper was the simulated transfer by air of critically ill patient.

A simulated exercise was carried out by a dummy air warrior sustained multiple injuries over chest and head He was brought to RAMT, immediately he was attended by RAMT TEAM. His level of consciousness deteriorated and respiratory distress aggravated. It was decided to evacuate the patient by air to a tertiary care centre for further management. Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCAT) ALONG WITH Patient Transfer Unit (PTU). CCAT team took the patient on PTU and shifted to AN-32 aircraft and flight took off. With the help of various life support equipments and portable lab analyzer on PTU it was possible to simulate Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in air. Patient remained stable over a flight of one hour and safely handed over to team of tertiary care hospital.

The other exercise included

Para drop:

Insertion of paratroopers by day and night following low level tactical routing in a simulated hostile scenario. The Special Forces of IAF Garuds and Special Operations Forces from SOFPAC (Sp. Op. Forces Pacific Air Command) participated in joint operation in simulated situation and were paradropped from An32, C130H, C130J, IL76 and C-17 aircraft. A total of 219 jumps were carried out by Indian Air Force and Special Operation Command till now.


Jump masters from USAF and Para jump Instructors from IAF undertook despatching/ duties jointly from An32 and C130 aircraft. Despatching is basically assisting the paratroopers in exiting safely from the aircraft. The missions flown were extremely successful as all troopers were dropped on time, and mission objectives achieved.


Heavy Drop:

Platform drops from An32, IL76, C130, and C17 aircrafts were undertaken. These platforms mainly carry combat vehicles and command vehicle for use in battle area by the troops para-dropped. These heavy drops were executed as part of the simulated scenario planned for the exercise.


Combat vehicles and command vehicles are basically light armoured vehicles to carry troops in battle area. As part of simulation, gypsies and dummy loads were dropped from An 32 and IL 76 aircraft. The An 32 dropped 3 tons of load and IL 76 dropped 7 tons.

Night Vision Goggles (NVG) operations:

NVG operations are carried by helicopters and transport aircrafts. As part of the transport aircraft, NVG; can be used for airborne assault and air landing operations in which paratroopers are dropped from the aircraft and troopers are off-loaded on landing. 
C130 and C17s of USAF demonstrated the landing capabilities of these aircrafts using NVG for landings at night with restricted lighting. A ground lecture was carried out on the capabilities of NVG prior to the flight demonstration.


Assault Landing/Tactical Descent:

Transport aircraft are required to operate from airfields all over the country and to foreign airfields in support of operations. Passive countermeasures involving reduction of aircraft Infrared (IR) signature, combined with tactics to remain out of the range of such missiles with in horizontal and vertical planes would enhance survivability at the aircraft in such special operations.

Assault landing/tactical ascent is a tactical manoeuvre undertaken to protect aircraft from Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS) and small arm fire while landing at high risk airfield. This manoeuvre also can be translated into steep approach in hostile environment terminating into para-drops and heavy drops. 

22 October 09

The Indo US joint Air Force exercise at Agra entered the penultimate day. Both, the IAF and USAF furthered the aim of joint planning and executions of missions in a hostile environment. Today a new dimension of 'Combat Search and Rescue' was added to the highly successful exercise. For the first time in the exercise two MI -17 were planned to send the Elite Indian Air Force Special Forces 'GARUDS' in the simulated Hostile environment to search and rescue our own troops. The USAF also showed their plan and how they operate such missions. There will be plenty to learn from each others missions tomorrow when this aspect of the exercise will actually be carried out. The GARUDS along with USAF Special Forces will be put on operation during the night to rescue friendly troops. 


In continuation with the exercise several sorties were planned and AN 32, IL 76, C 130J and C130H along with C 17 were used for demonstration of container delivery system. The exercise was also done during the night when personnel and load were dropped from the air craft being used in the exercise. Air Vice Marshal M Bahadur, Assistant Chief of Air Staff operations transport and helicopter and Maj Gen Darryll Wong of the USAF reached Agra for observing the last leg of the INDO-US event. The lessons learnt during the joint operations and mission planning will be discussed in the debrief during the closing ceremony on 23 Oct 09. 


The US 130 class of aircraft was used to demonstrate how fast this aircraft can be converted into for mass casualty evacuation from the battle field this conversion was done in front of a large gathering who were highly appreciative of the expertise of the US personnel who acted in a perfectly rehearsed manner in execution of the task. The USAF troops also demonstrated how a casualty can be transferred from one aircraft to another on ground with engines running but no AIR DRAFT being felt by the casualty , this is done by a special system available in the US aircraft which are presently in operation at Agra in COPE INDIA 2009. 

23 October 09

Exercise COPE INDIA 2009 (19-23 October) which was held at Agra a major transport base of HQ Central Air Command of Indian Air Force. The successful completion of the exercise saw the two air forces working together, enhancing and understanding the employment philosophies of both Air Force in joint venture operations. The exercise ended with both the exercise directiors Gp Capt Mathew Mammen VM of Indian Air Force and Colonel Raymond Le Marche of USAF expressing satisfaction in the way the exercises was conducted. To amplify the importance of the exercise Air Vice Marshal M Bahadur VM Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Transport & Helicopter) of the IAF and Major General Darryll Wong of the USAF exchanged mementos to commemorate the successful completion of the most vibrant and well conducted exercise, EX COPE INDIA 2009

Both the IAF and USAF learnt about each others joint planning and execution of missions personnel were seen discussing various aspects of the exercise amongst each other. one trying to learn from the other the way of training, planning and execution of missions. The exercises was conducted in the right earnest and seriousness. Para jumping, Heavy load drop, rapid action medical team Critical care Air Transportation, Patient transfer unit (Kind of a mobile ICU) actions by IAF special forces "GARUDS and the USAF SOF, combat controlling, Para rescue and combat search and rescue operations modern air delivery techniques and management of mass causalities and medical evacuation of critical patients by air. The 'Garuds' also learnt a lot from their American Counterparts. Some of the Indian troops experienced how it felt to jump from the C-130J, C-130H and C-17. The IAF demonstrated its Rapid action Medical team being the first responders in case of natural calamities in the nation. The RAMT, Patient transfer unit (PTU) & critical care Air Transportation system of IAF was very highly appreciated by the USAF. Similarly the medical training mannequins of the USAF were found to be very useful by the IAF. Night vision glasses aided tactical operations by the USAF were found to be very interesting. C-17 moving in reverse on ground for parking was most amusing. The overall effect of the exercise can be adjudged in the phrase used by the most active, jovial and energetic pilot of USAF saying 'Bahut Achhe' to IAF personnel, in appreciation to the success of the exercise. The icing on the cake is the self explanatory photo of both the exercise directors shaking hands at the end of the exercise.