April, 23

US, Colombia soar together: Ángel de los Andes, Relámpago VII bolster interoperability

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“It’s good for us to share tactics and techniques with each other to learn from each other,” Schiller said. “We have very different mission sets, the F-15 to the KFIR, but there’s still a lot of commonality and similarities between the two air frames…so it’s easy for us to fly in the same airspace and operate as a cohesive team to achieve a common goal.” 

As an aeromedical evacuation training exercise, Ángel de los Andes aimed to save lives. During the exercise’s simulated earthquake scenario, U.S. C-17 and HH-60 aircraft flew alongside Colombian helicopters, transporting and treating 50 patients in a large-scale recovery effort.

In another exercise scenario, combined teams of special forces parachuted into simulated enemy territory to rescue friendly troops from danger. Flying aboard an HH-60 helicopter, a Colombian and U.S. crew worked side-by-side, conducting river rescues, overcoming difficult terrain and breaking through the language barrier to succeed in their mission, said Colombian AF Maj. César Trivino, a UH-60 helicopter pilot who participated in Ángel de los Andes.

With scenarios unfolding in multiple locations throughout Colombia, overhead imagery was key to assuring safe and accurate exercise missions.

The Air Forces Southern space team partnered with U.S. Space Command’s Joint Task Force-Space Defense Commercial Operations cell for Space Domain Awareness to provide overhead imagery of helicopter landing zones, satellite overflight information and space weather prognostics to aid in decision-making, planning and execution.

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