The Army’s mock war exercise, “Cormorant Strike VII – 2016” known as “Diyakawa field training exercise” concluded last week in Trincomalee with the participation of over 2500 infantrymen including 638 sailors and 506 airmen.

“The 21 days exercise this year is most significant as so many newest things were added and all went successful,” Cormorant Strike exercise director Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said.

The event was organized for the seventh time with the participation of 58 personnel from several countries including the USA, India, Pakistan, China, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sudan.

The entire mock exercise was conducted according to standards of the United Nations (UN) and was conducted with the use of the WEBGIS software technology for the operations.

Major General  Sudantha Ranasinghe
Major General
Sudantha Ranasinghe

This year saw the inclusion of the state-of-the-art technology and joint night operations for the first time ever. In addition, Ranasinghe said that a parachute jump with full combat gear was also conducted for the first time.

This exercise is conducted for a period of almost three weeks for all three forces and includes patrolling, infiltration, ex-filtration, reconnaissance, surveillance, combat tracking, link up, caches, demolitions, raids, ambushes, cut off and blocks, rescue missions, cat sniping and urban fighting.

The field training exercises commenced on September 4 in Kokilai and the final display for the public was held on September 20 with the participation of the Defence Secretary, Karunasena Hettiarachchi and high ranking officials of the tri-forces.

This mock field training exercise (FTX) in close operation with the Navy and the Air Force is designed for deployment of troops in a war at any given moment and planned for conduct of joint operations as one team.

It uses manoeuvre-approach, encompassing planning, execution and command which can be made operational at any given circumstance.

The final exercise at Arisimalei, Thiriyaya in Trincomalee was an attack on an enemy camp with the simultaneous participation of all three forces. The training exercise had commenced South of Kokilai and North of Panama in the eastern province.

According to Ranasinghe the training focuses to give the participants a wide range of practical knowledge on simulating rescue operations, operations of joint amphibious task forces, induction and re-induction of the troops, siege of safe houses, under-water missions, mock ambushes of unconventional types, planning, preparations, commands, control, tactics,  techniques, and procedures, operations within  given time frames, air and sea rescue operations, attacks on hideouts and intelligence gathering.

He further added that the Cormorant Strike is the largest field exercise in the country and is conducted for forces to maintain their highest physical efficiency and specialization in special operational tactics, techniques, procedures and skills.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Chrishanthe de Silva speaking to foreign forces personnel who were part of the training explained the distinct objective and importance behind such training exercises.

“Soldiers always must be in their highest level of combat efficiency. The motive comes only in a real battle situation and here we guide them to be ready for such unexpected circumstances,” he added.

The Bangladeshi team comprised of two officers and seven soldiers. Jakir and Nazmul speaking on behalf of their team said they gained a marvelous experience and knowledge during the three weeks.

Ijaz and Mudassar who joined the exercise from Pakistan said the knowledge and experience they gained was amazing and would be useful in their career.

“It was a novel experience for us and our team. We have participated in military trainings in several countries and Sri Lanka’s tri-forces field training is exceptional. It cannot be tallied with any other course,” Ijaz said.

Nation also spoke to Sergeant Muhammad Musam from Sudan. It was all his team members’ first visit to Sri Lanka. “We learnt a lot. Most of the courses or training has only theoretical lessons. Here, we are on a practical situation and we were forced to give our body, mind and soul to be in the exercise. Further, I should mention that it is very easy to work with the Sri Lankans and that helped us a lot to gain lot,” he said.

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