The US Navy’s Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) has conducted a live-fire training exercise in Bize, Albania.
The forces carried out aviation ordnance-delivery training alongside Albanian troops to further bolster operational readiness and strengthen partnership.
The training exercise featured the US Marine Corp’s UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1W Super Cobras helicopters, which were assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Amphibious Squadron 8 commodore captain Lance Lesher said: “The BATARG and 26th MEU are excited about the opportunity to build on the live-fire exercise conducted by the US Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Det 1, with our Albanian partners less than two months ago.
“This important training, this time with 26th MEU aircraft, continues to reinforce familiarity and interoperability with our Albanian partners, reaffirming our commitment to not only this enduring relationship, but security and stability across the region.”
Venoms and Super Cobra helicopters, referred as H-1s, support the transportation of marines, casualty evacuation, and close-air support.
The training is expected to increase the capabilities of UH-1Y Venom and AH-1W Super Cobra pilots in carrying out live-fire tactical manoeuvring in mountainous terrain.
AH-1W Super Cobra pilot captain Casey Low said: “This training evolution was a great opportunity for our H-1 crews to integrate with a Nato ally through extensive coordination and combined planning, all while physically distributed from our Albanian counterparts aboard our sea-based platform.
“The evolution tested and demonstrated our ability to project power ashore, utilising air-delivered fires from the MEU’s Aviation Combat Element to support combined Nato forces.”
BATARG and 26th MEU comprises around 4,000 sailors and marines from the US 6th Fleet area of operations.