Russian, American Rescuers Conduct Joint Exercises In Tajikistan

Russian and American rescuers conducted on Tuesday joint exercises to rescue the crews of aircraft in distress in Tajikistan. According to Colonel Sergei Prusov, the spokesman for the Search and Rescue Department of the Russian Defence Ministry, the objective of the exercises, which took place on the Lyaur test ground of the Russian 201st division in Tajikistan, was to establish cooperation between Russian and American rescue teams after receiving a distress signal. He said that the exercises scenario was that the crew of an American F-15E plane, which was flying over northern Afghanistan on an anti-terrorist mission, had to eject on the Tajik territory. The Rescue operation was conducted by Russian personnel and equipment. According to Prusov, the exercises revealed a high level of the Russian search and rescue service's readiness to perform such operations. The fact that the whole operation from activating the distress beam to the embarkment of the crew into the helicopter took only 80 minutes, proves this statement. At the same time, it took the Americans 6 hours to perform similar operation in Yugoslavia. The high level of readiness and professionalism of Russian rescuers was also appreciated by Major Barnett, the representative of the American side.