The three-week long joint annual military field training exercise involving thousands of Sri Lankan armed forces personnel and representatives from foreign countries will commence on Sunday, 3 September, for the eighth consecutive year, the Army said.
The Army, issuing a communiqué, said the joint annual Field Training Exercise (FTX), ‘Exercise - Cormorant Strike VIII - 2017’ organised by the Army for the 8th consecutive year with a record participation of 2,675 Army, Navy and Air Force troops, including 62 foreign military participants and observers, will take place covering the Eastern Province.
The exercise with new features added this year will be launched from the mock Operational Headquarters at Minneriya from 3 September to 24 September 2017.
Using special operational tactics, 2,108 infantrymen, including largely the Commandos, Special Forces and Mechanised Infantry Regiment troops of the Army, 370 sailors and 197 airmen, together with the foreign military men will take part in field exercises and mock operations.
Observers from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Russia, USA, Brazil, Sudan, Iraq, Israel, Oman, Turkey, Iran and Kenya would formally join the mega Exercise.
At a special press conference held on Thursday at the Army Headquarters premises, Army Chief of Staff Major General Amal Karunasekara said the ‘Exercise Cormorant Strike’, introduced to the Army in 2010, is an attempt to share experiences the Army had gained in the humanitarian operations that took place before 2009.
“This is also a move to strengthen mutual understanding that prevails among sister services and also to promote the momentum of collective efforts in any given emergency scenario,” he said.
Exercise Director Major General Aruna Jayasekara interpreted the joint Exercise as a move to develop decision-making capabilities of junior officers who have had not experienced such mock scenarios. “It is also an Exercise to train Officers to understand operability of non-state actors, air and sea operations, threats of cyber-attacks and all warfare needs taken on a paddle,” he said.
“The combination of Commandos, Special Forces and also the Mechanised Infantry troops of the Army, together with Navy and Air Force troops present an ideal setting for the Exercise under 14 training modules. It also helps share our experiences with those military personnel from foreign armed forces and the vice versa,” the Exercise Director said.
The Exercise covers Batticaloa, Vakarai, Trincomalee North and Thoppigala areas of the Security Force Headquarters - Wanni, Security Force Headquarters East (SFHQ-E) and the Security Force Headquarters, Mullaitivu.
It is to be coupled with simultaneous mock seaborne and airborne operations of the Navy and Air Force respectively, and is slated to further enhance special operation capabilities of the Army Mechanised Infantry columns, backed by naval troops to maintain combat readiness at all levels.
As the final phase, a simulated joint onslaughts against enemy strongholds, supported by seaborne and airborne operations towards the culmination of the Exercise, has also been planned.
The Field Training Exercise ends on 24 September at Trincomalee after a mammoth joint display on the previous day, prior to the closing ceremony.