The Namibian Air Force dispatched 43 members to Botswana to participate in a regional training exercise, codenamed “Exercise Blue Okavango”.
The exercise, which started on Saturday and ends on July 27, will bring together about 890 troops from Angola, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the host country, Botswana.
The aim of the military exercise, to take place in the North West district of Maun, is to familiarise SADC Air Forces’ Air component commanders and staff officers with the planning procedures and execution of humanitarian relief and supporting operations.
Monica Sheya, Head of Public Relations Division in the Ministry of Defence said yesterday the Exercise Blue Okavango will also provide an opportunity to enable a SADC Air Operations Centre to conduct estimates, produce plans and execute humanitarian aid operations.
Sheya said the Namibian Air Force contributed one transport aircraft and a transport helicopter to the event.
As part of the exercise, troops will carry out one of Botswana’s social programmes, whereby food items are delivered to needy people in far-flung places in the Okavango Delta. Local clinics and primary schools will then distribute the goods directly to the beneficiaries.
At the official opening of the joint exercise, Botswana Defence Force, Lt. Gen. Gaolathe Galebotswe said the operation brings together regional Air Forces, Air Arms and Air Wings to foster cooperation in humanitarian relief operations, as well as validate inter-operability to better prepare the region’s forces to respond to major catastrophes.
“In humanitarian and disaster relief operations, national livelihood and human lives are in jeopardy, hence quick and critical response is essential. Due to this aspect the air forces would be the most suitable to employ due their characteristics of speed, flexibility, reach and mobility,” he noted.
He explained that some of the objectives of the exercise is to practice SADC’s air doctrine, to afford air staff an opportunity to plan staff functions, as well as ensure there is inter-operability and compatibility of regional ir forces.
Galebotswe said the practice of aircraft capability is vital, as it will provide the flexibility to facilitate rapid reaction to any major crisis with minimum delay.
The Namibian contingent is expected to arrive back at Grootfontein on July 31. New Era Reporter
2015-07-15 10:33:38 | 5 years ago