Chilean, U.S. Air Forces share perimeter defense methods
By Tech. Sgt. Roy Santana , 4th Combat Camera Squadron
/ Published November 04, 2008
10/30/2008 - QUINTERO AIR FORCE BASE, Chile (AFNS) -- Force Protection Airmen and a Canadian officer participating in Operation Southern Partner demonstrated the Small Unmanned Aircraft System to the Chilean air force's anti-aircraft artillery regiment Oct 29.
Operation Southern Partner is an all-new, in-depth subject matter exchange emphasizing partnership, cooperation and sharing of information with partner nation Air Forces in Latin America. The first iteration of OSP is progressing in all four of the debut locations: Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.
Lt. Col. Don Robertson, the OSP Force Protection Team Chief, presented his experiences and methods concerning air base defense at Chile's Quintero air force base, about 70 miles west of Santiago.
"We've found that the Chilean air force has some of the same issues we have," Colonel Robertson said. "They realize, as we do, that force protection is everyone's responsibility -- one of the key concepts we discussed was using all Airmen to work less 'training-intensive' tasks to assist security forces."
By enlisting every Airman as a sensor in alerting base officials of threats, security forces members gain valuable, persistent "eyes and ears" while freeing security teams to concentrate on base defense, Colonel Robertson explained.
The highlight of the exchange was a hands-on opportunity to examine the unmanned aircraft, the Raven B -- a component of the Small Unmanned Aerial System.
Canadian army Maj. Brian Nekurak, an officer in the foreign exchange program, working with Colonel Robertson, demonstrated the use and capabilities of the system while the aircraft was passed among participants to examine.
Questions flowed freely in the room, as both countries Airmen interacted as peers, each sharing their perspective on the system and how SUAS may be integrated into existing programs.
The Chilean air base's group Commandant, Col. Anselmo Salas and Col. Randot Espinoza, the Quintero Air Base chief of security forces, added their own expertise to the exchange, broadening the discussion into the unique security challenges in Latin America.
Regarding the benefit of these discussions, Colonel Robertson summarized his exchange by saying, "I've gained a great deal of respect for their well disciplined force and professionalism."