November 15, 2013 (by Capt. Raymond Geoffroy) - U.S. Airmen from Yokota Air Base, Japan, demonstrated Low-Cost, Low Altitude airdrop techniques to Bangladeshi Airmen, during a subject-matter expert exchange at Bangabandhu Air Base, Bangladesh, Nov. 9 through 13, 2013.
MSgt. Chris Peters, 36th AS loadmaster, prepares to drop a Low-Cost, Low Altitude bundle during exercise Cope South over Bangladesh on November 9, 2013. [USAF photo by Capt. Raymond Geoffroy]
The exchange, a key part of exercise Cope South, was designed to show Bangladeshi Airmen an effective and safe way to deliver supplies in a during disasters and contingencies.
LCLA utilizes readily available resources and repurposed personnel parachutes to build supply pallets at a fraction of the cost of other airdrop bundles. These pallets are dropped at low altitude, which improves drop accuracy.
"This is, bar-none, the best suited airdrop technique for reliable airdrop in humanitarian aid and disaster relief situations," said Lt. Col. Jeff Menasco, 36th Airlift Squadron commander. "It's safe, it's accurate, it's affordable and it's sustainable; we're very happy to share this method with our Bangladeshi counterparts and further enhance their robust capabilities."
This year's Cope South focuses on conducting tactical airlift operations in order to better respond to regional disasters and features several SME events to discuss tactics, techniques and procedures. For Airmen conducting the exchanges, the opportunity to trade experience is rewarding and enjoyable.
"The Bangladeshis have a lot of airdrop experience and are very enthusiastic about what they do, so we can relate really well," said Staff Sgt. Dmitri Sokgobenzon, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "It's really fun to explain something to someone who really wants to learn."
Sokgobenzon added that demonstrating LCLA to fellow loadmasters is particularly exciting because of the bundle's unique properties.
"The cool part about LCLA for a loadmaster is we play a bigger role in the airdrop itself than we would with other types of drops," Sokgobenzon said. "Also is easy to rig and easy to drop, which makes it really easy to describe to other loadmasters."
Cope South complements a number of other cooperative activities designed to strengthen partnership between the United States and Bangladesh.
"Through exchanges like these we are building a lasting partnership with the Bangladeshis and strengthening our overall capabilities," Menasco said. "This is what Cope South is all about, bringing Airmen together to learn and bond through direct engagement."