‘Cormorant Strike IX - 2018’ to begin September 6

The panel of military officials at the media conference.

‘Cormorant Strike IX - 2018’, the joint mega Tri-Service Field Training Exercise (FTX) organised by the Sri Lanka Army for the ninth consecutive year, would begin on September 6 with the participation of 100 foreign military participants and observers, in addition to 2,500 army personnel, 400 sailors and 200 airmen.

It was announced by Kilinochchi Security Forces Commander Major General Niyshshanka Ranawana, at a media conference held at the Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) auditorium on Tuesday.

Over the years, the said field training exercise had evolved as one of the most consistent and comprehensive training exercises which transfers and shares military experience and knowledge in a multinational milieu, for the benefit of future military aspirants, as well as the foreign military participants, the Commander said.

“It will continue until September 26, covering the Eastern, Central, Western and North Central provinces and will provide a catalyst to build the capacity of Army Special Operations Forces (SOF), and to formulate a theoretical framework for the employment of SOF officers,” he added.

This year’s exercise would portray counter-insurgency scenarios with the influence of asymmetrical warfare, which had turned out to be the common approach among most non-state actors, extremist groups and appears to be the most likely national and international security threat in the 21st century, Major General Ranawana said.

The exercise would mainly focus on joint planning and coordination, pre-engagement training, staff functions, real-time role-play, and execution of special operations within the given framework.

Exercise settings had been developed under the guidance of Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayaka and under the close supervision of Exercise Director Major General Niyshshanka Ranawana and a special committee.

‘Cormorant Strike IX - 2018’ would begin from the mock Operational Headquarters at Minneriya on Thursday (September 6), after a brief induction ceremony, with Brigadier Krishantha Gnanaratne and Colonel Vipula Ihalage serving as the Deputy Directors of the exercise.

Using SOF tactics, Infantrymen that include commandos, Special Forces, Air Mobile and Mechanised Army Infantry Regiment troops, sailors and airmen would participate in the exercise.

The SOF would deploy troops under command on special operation tactics, techniques and procedures in the Operational Framework (Deep, Close and Rear), during the Exercise.

Foreign military participants and observers from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, France, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Sudan, Turkey, UK, USA and Zambia, have so far confirmed their participation. Through the execution of 20 special operations missions, the participants are expected to stick to the above-mentioned core tasks.

The field training exercise terminates with the ‘Critical Engagement’ on September 26, at Kuchchaveli. It had been planned as a joint operation against opposing force strongholds supported by Naval, Air Task Forces and Mechanised Infantry troops. The debrief of the exercise would take place on completion of the Critical Engagement on September 27.

The Army Commander said that Sri Lanka Army, having defeated the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit, should sustain the status quo and always be well-geared to take on any future challenges the country or its people would face, as defenders of the nation.

The media briefing was also attended by Training Director-General Major General Aruna Wanniarachchi, Army Training Command (ARTRAC) Commander Major General Rukmal Dias, Media Director Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, Commando Brigade Commander Brigadier Krishantha Gnanarathne, Special Forces Brigade Commander Colonel Upul Ihalage, Air Component Commander Group Captain Vishwa Samantha and Naval Component Commander Captain Damian Fernando.

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