USAF and Paraguayan Air Force Pilots Execute ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder’ Flying Operations

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  • By 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron

Members of the 571st Mobility Support Air Advisory Squadron (MSAS) and 818th MSAS conducted combined shoulder-to-shoulder flying operations with the Paraguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Paraguay – FAP) in mid-September 2023. 13 MSAS air advisors participated in this mission, proudly hosted by the Paraguayan Air Force’s Transport Group in Asuncion, Paraguay. The event’s primary objective was to build interoperability and to exercise combined flying and emergency response tactics, techniques, and procedures with the aim of building bilateral cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and Paraguayan Air Force.

Building on the successes of last year’s flying engagement, this year’s flying operations totaled 13 missions and 32 flying hours. U.S. Air Force pilots, maintenance personnel, and other MSAS specialties conducted combined flying operations with Paraguayan airmen. With U.S. Air Force air advisor pilots at the controls alongside Paraguayan pilots, they flew to both remote and austere airfields across the country utilizing two Paraguayan Air Force C-208B aircraft. In addition to flying, a variety of ground topics were discussed to include flight safety, maintenance procedures, fuel planning, weight and balance, flying search and rescue (SAR) techniques, and air-to-ground integration (AGI) techniques.

Simultaneously, SAR, disaster response, and tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) specialists from the 571st MSAS conducted mass casualty, medical operations, firefighting, and first responder training operations alongside the Paraguayan Air Force and various local emergency response units. These units included the National Emergency Secretariat (Secretaría de Emergencia Nacional- SEN) Paraguay, Wildland Firefighters, and volunteer firefighters hailing from Asuncion and various towns in the northern regions of the country. The training sessions focused on optimizing communication and coordination of ground and airborne first responders via AGI in SAR and wildland firefighting operations.

The flying operations and emergency response training culminated in the execution of a combined simulated mass casualty SAR exercise between first responders and C-208B aircraft in the northern remote region of Paraguay known as “the Chaco.” These combined ground and flying efforts bolstered U.S. Southern Command’s lines of effort by increasing air domain awareness and strengthening partnerships in the region.

For 2024, the 571st and 818th Adaptive Security Force Assistance Aviation (ASAv) program is being requested at an increased frequency for supplementary multiweek C-208B air advisor flying engagements across multiple countries and mark the highest-demand level to date for the burgeoning ASAv program, illustrating its value to develop partner nation flying capabilities and the high demand for shoulder-to-shoulder partner nation flying engagements across the globe.