Exercise Cooperation VIII was held at the Argentine Air Force’s (FAA, in Spanish) IV Air Brigade, in the province of Mendoza, March 28-April 8. The training was geared toward the standardization, planning, execution, and control of air operations during natural disasters, and demonstrated the effectiveness of participants in humanitarian aid.
The air forces of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, United States, and Uruguay attended the training, bringing together 130 uniformed personnel.
The FAA’s Training and Readiness Command (CAA, in Spanish) developed this tabletop exercise to integrate the capabilities of members of the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, in Spanish).
“Air power on many occasions is the most effective and fastest means of providing assistance,” the FAA tweeted. “In some instances, it’s the first means, in others it’s the only means; especially […] in remote, isolated communities, and where land and/or sea communication routes are inhospitable and non-existent.”
FAA Colonel Fabian Capellino, CAA chief of Staff and exercise director, stressed the importance of the training because it is “the basis for the creation of combined doctrine for humanitarian aid operations.”
Cooperation VIII was carried out as a virtual scenario of a natural disaster occurring in Peru. Participants worked with the FAA’s Unified Air Logistics Module (MULA, in Spanish) system, which consists of a desktop and interrelated web application, to coordinate the loading and shipment of supplies in real combined air operations.
The system produces a log of requirements, mission planning and tracking, cargo management, passenger and casualty lists, and generates reports on planned and executed tasks, among others.
“Integration and interoperability are not easy at all, that is why the training in Cooperation VIII is done, with a view to what will be needed for Peru in 2023,” said Brazilian Air Force Colonel Bruno Pedra, referring to the upcoming exercise scheduled in Peru next year, with various air assets and military troops.
Air Force Colonel Romel Vidal Calderón Ochoa, representing Peru, added that the end goal of Cooperation VIII was to achieve a “very high level of coordination, capacity, and programming,” to support the population in real situations, so that “humanitarian aid arrives in an adequate and timely manner.”