Air forces of the US and Bangladesh are set to take part in a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, bilateral tactical airlift exercise.

Named as Cope South 22, the exercise will be conducted at Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) Kurmitola Cantonment, Dhaka; and Operating Location-Alpha, Sylhet, Bangladesh.

It will witness the participation of nearly 77 airmen, along with two US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the US Air Force (USAF) 36th Airlift Squadron (AS) of the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

Around 300 members of the Bangladeshi Armed Forces and two C-130Js will join the US personnel.

The exercise aims to enhance interoperability between the USAF and the BAF and will support the latter’s long-term modernisation efforts.

During the exercise, aeroplane generation and recovery, daytime low-level navigation, tactical airdrop, and air-land missions will be conducted, including subject-matter expert exchanges.

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36 AS operations director lieutenant colonel Kira Coffey said: “The Bangladesh Air Force is one of our most important regional partners, and Cope South allows us to strengthen this partnership through tactical airlift sorties and subject-matter expert exchanges. This is critical to bolstering regional stability for our shared goal of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

The exercise represents the first iteration since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

In addition, Bangladesh has received more than $121m in Covid-19-related aid from the US, since 2020.

Coffey added: “Covid-19 has only accelerated the need to improve our ability to work together during a potential Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief scenario.”

In 2015, the US and Bangladeshi air forces concluded their bilateral tactical airlift exercise, Cope South 15 at the BAF Base Bangabandhu.