Gripenblogs asked Gripen pilot, Wing Commander Charoen Watanasrimongkol, Commander 701 Squadron at Wing 7, Surat Thani, about what he and his squadron colleagues learned during Cope Tiger 2013 held at Wing 1, Korat between 11 and 21 March.
This was the first multilateral exercise where RTAF Gripen joined since the aircraft became operational in the air force. Aircraft and personnel from USAF and RSAF also participated in the exercise.
What kind of missions did your Gripen participate in?
This year, we only did Air to Air missions. Both OCA (Offensive Counter Air) and DCA (Defensive Counter Air) were the primary missions.
What were the objectives, and how were these objectives met/fulfilled?
Our main objectives are to test and evaluate the squadron tactics in the BVR (Beyond Visual Range) scenarios. I believe we have achieved that.
When is the next bi/multilateral flight exercise with RTAF Gripen due?
The next one is the Thai Boomerang 2013 exercise.
What is the experience from the ground crew point of view, working in a big exercise like Cope Tiger?
They have learned a lot, both in working on a different base and in the fleet management with shared supporting resources.
What was the biggest challenge for the pilots in the exercise?
For pilots, fighting against multiple BVR-awarded targets was the most challenging aspect from the exercise. Mission commander and Flight leads also got to learn how to plan the mission with other nations and platforms.
What was your fastest turn around?
We did not time any as the schedule was comfortably spread out over the sorties.