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African Partnership Flight kicks off in Rwanda

  • Published
  • By Capt. Korey Fratini
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

U.S. Air Forces Africa along with the Rwanda Defence Force kicked off African Partnership Flight Rwanda here during an opening ceremony. The weeklong event is the first of its kind in Rwanda and being hosted by the U.S. Air Force and the Rwanda Defence Force.

Approximately 45 air force delegates from Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zambia are participating in this African Partnership Flight, which will focus on familiarizing participants on elements of flight, ground, and weapons safety.

“This is going to be a wonderful event. When we thought about the African Partnership Flight, the whole idea was for the United States Air Force to learn as much about our partners as much as our partners learn from us,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Hughes, deputy director, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Plans, Programs and Analysis.

The African Partnership Flight program is AFAFRICA’s premier multi-lateral military-to-military engagement and security assistance program. Events like these are intended to strengthen U.S. strategic partnerships with African countries by sharing ideas on aviation related topics, which are intended to enhance regional cooperation and interoperability.

Over the course of the week, there will be a series of multi-disciplinary courses and workshops. These classroom style courses will specifically focus on aviation safety culture, industrial safety and personal protective equipment, safety program management, mishap response and safety investigations, bird and wildlife aircraft strike hazard programs, and operational risk management.

“This safety workshop is the first of its kind to take place in Rwanda,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Karamba, Air Chief, Rwandan air force. “It will equip Rwandan air force personnel and our African brother air forces present here with knowledge and skills to cope with more than air safety standards. By the end of this workshop, I have no doubt that will we will have gained the necessary skills to operate these delicate and expensive machines.”

African Partnership Flight Rwanda will conclude with a field familiarization exercise at the Rwandan Military Academy. This hands-on event will give participants an opportunity to take what they learned over the course of the week and put it into practice in a simulated scenario.

Hughes ended by adding, “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, but working together is success. I have no doubt that is what will happen this week.”