Building Partnerships: US, Bangladesh Air Forces to conduct tactical airlift exercise Cope South 22

  • Airmen from the 374th Airlift Wing,  Yokota Air Base, Japan, and the Bangladesh air force (BAF) will participate in exercise Cope South 22 Feb. 20-25 at BAF Kurmitola Cantonment, Dhaka, and Operating Location-Alpha, Sylhet, Bangladesh, for a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, bilateral tactical airlift exercise.

Approximately 77 U.S. Airmen along with two U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 36th Airlift Squadron (AS) will join approximately 300 Bangladesh armed forces members and 2 Bangladeshi C-130Js for the exercise.

Exercise goals include improving interoperability with the Bangladesh air force and supporting the armed forces of the Bangladesh’s long-term modernization efforts in order to maintain regional stability. This will be done by conducting flight operations to include aircraft generation and recovery, daytime low-level navigation, tactical airdrop, and air-land missions, as well as subject-matter expert exchanges in the operations, maintenance and rigging career fields.

“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,” said Lt Col Kira Coffey, 36 AS Director of Operations. “This is critical to bolstering regional stability for our shared goal of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Since 2020, the United States has provided over $121 million in COVID-19-related assistance to Bangladesh. As this year’s Cope South will be the first iteration since the start of the pandemic, health measures will be in place for the protection of participating forces and the Bangladesh population.

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

In a joint statement released June 11, 2019, by the U.S. Department of State, the two governments reaffirmed their commitment to enduring partnership, highlighting close cooperation on security, development, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and counterterrorism. The two governments also agreed to continue to cooperate closely to advance a shared vision of a free and open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region.