In what is sure to be irritating the Russians, Ukrainian and American military forces are conducting several joint exercises this week, including one that saw US Air Force (USAF) special operations CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft teaming up with the Ukrainian military.
A Facebook post from the 352nd Special Operations Wing out of RAF Mildenhall stated the Wing’s Ospreys, as well as MC-130Js transports, were participating in Exercise Fiction Urchin with Ukrainian special operations forces.
The CV-22 is the USAF Special Operation Forces variant of the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey. The unique aircraft combines the vertical takeoff, hover, and vertical landing abilities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.
According to the U.S. Air Force fact sheet, “The mission of the CV-22 is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.”
As part of the exercise, U.S. and Ukrainian special operations forces are training throughout Ukraine, practicing aerial refueling, fast rope insertion and extraction as well as military free-fall as part of their effort to improve Special Operations Forces (SOF) capabilities and interoperability, said the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, according to Air Force Times.
The embassy added that this was the first time AFSOC Ospreys and MC-130Js have supported the Ukrainian SOF Qualification Course (“Q” Course) for special operations air-ground integration training.
The other U.S.-Ukrainian military training exercises, noted the Air Force Times, are Joint Endeavor 2020 and Rapid Trident 20, which began two weeks ago and are scheduled to run through the end of this week.
Clearly, US and Ukrainian military cooperation continues unabated, and greater integration of U.S. and Ukrainian SOF is likely the best way to help Ukraine deter and defend against possible Russian hybrid warfare attacks.