A live counter-terrorism exercise called Vigilant Skies 2013 was held in August 2013. to test the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI) Information Exchange System.
The participants of exercise are Turkish, Polish and Russian fighter aircraft and air traffic controllers. Scenario is hijacking two civilian airplanes in Turkish, Russian and Polish airspace. All air traffic controllers coordinated fighters to do intercepting and escorting the airplane to landings.
Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI) is launched in 2002 to develop sharing air traffic information and communication capability to coordinate for scenarios like above mentioned, terrorist air security threats.
CAI network consist of 4 air traffic control stations in Nato countries and 4 in Russia, where they are connected by coordination centers in Warsaw and Moscow.
Overseeing the exercise were RMAF Director of Operations and Exercises Major-General Datuk Seri Affendi Buang and USAF 11th Air Force Commander Lt Gen Russell Handy, who both hosted a media day for the exercise on June 15 2014 where both generals highlighted the strong cooperation and partnership between the two countries and their respective air forces.
The exercise scenario revolved around a hypothetical enemy threatening the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and the South China Sea with the USAF and RMAF aircraft alternating between playing the defenders and attackers.
For example, one mission exercise had a force of eight USAF F-15s intercepting two RMAF C-130s and a USAF C-17 which were escorted by four RMAF Su-30MKMs, six USAF F-22s, two RMAF Mig-29s and two RMAF F-18s.
A whole range of other missions were carried out, ranging from resupply drops to downed pilot rescue, night parachuting and a large number of DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) exercises in which the two countries’ fighters conducted mock dogfights against each other in one-on-one and two-on-two scenarios. The smaller RMAF Hawks were used in a two-on-one scenario against one USAF aircraft.
The DACT results were of great interest globally as many wanted to know how well the RMAF would perform against the F-22 Raptor, but neither side would officially release information on the outcomes, saying it was purely a matter for the two air forces. It is learnt that the RMAF did indeed score some “kills” on the F-22s, including one by a Hawk, but the USAF also racked up its own tally of RMAF planes.
Exercise director RMAF Col Suri Mohamad Daud, a fighter pilot himself, stressed that air combat was only one part of Cope Taufan 2014: “Anyone can go up in a plane and fly but coordinating everything between the two different air forces and the experience gained from doing so is the more important part of it.”
Col Suri stated that a vital element was the RMAF’s home-built Command and Control System which was put together for the exercise and able to tie in all the aircraft, bases and radar stations involved. This was a complex task. given that the aircraft were dispersed among four RMAF airbases – Butterworth, Subang, Kuantan and Gong Kedak – and the aerial exercises took place all over Peninsular Malaysia, with over 400 sorties flown in the exercise period (a sortie is defined as a flight by one aircraft).
Col Suri said the development of the system showed that RMAF personnel were capable of developing equipment for their own needs and did not necessarily have to rely on commercial industry.
“Besides, when you go to war, you are not going to have civilian contractors with you to provide you with equipment,” he added.
On the outcome of Cope Taufan 2014, Col Suri said it was “a successful exercise as both sides learnt a lot from operating with each other. The experience gained by such exercises is important as it enables each of us to understand how the other works and operates, and enables us to work smoothly in future if we have to do it for real.”
Canadian CF-18 Hornet aircraft from 409 Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta and Russian Su-27 aircraft from Anadyr, Russia practice procedures to transfer a simulated hijacked airplane from Russian to American airspace during the NORAD Exercise VIGILANT EAGLE 13 on August 28, 2013.
Photo: Cpl Vicky
Canadian CF-18 Hornets from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron and Russian Air Force SU-27s were practice to transfer simulated hijacked airplane liner from Russian to American airspace during the North American Aerospace Defense Command Exercise VIGILANT EAGLE 13 on August 28, 2013.
Two Australian No. 77 Squadron F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft welcome Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker aircraft into Darwin to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2012. Mid CaptionExercise Pitch Black is a major multi-national biennial exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, involving Offensive Counter Air and Offensive Air Support missions being flown at training ranges across the Northern Territory. Exercise Pitch Black 12 was held from 27 July to 17 August 2012, and involved 2200 personnel and up to 94 aircraft from Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and the United States.
Starting June 2014. “Garuda V“, Indo-French air exercise, held at Jodhpur airbase (India), where fighters from both countries took part of training, Dassault Rafale and Su-30MKI, same classes or 4+ generation fighters.
At least 2 French pilots have done sorties Su-30 MKI and MiG-27s as well. IAF pilots have been taking spins in the 4 Rafales at Jodhpur as well. Good for everybody for trading or better to say sharing experience to each other.
One nice photo from there: