Ashgabat, 15 December 2014 (nCa) — Turkmenistan conducted Sunday (14 Dec) a major border protection exercise, demonstrating its ability to respond swiftly and in an integrated manner to border violations.
Here is the scenario of the exercise:
- A border patrol spots a group of armed intruders crossing the state borders and reports the incident to their superiors.
- The border control team dispatches a detachment of guards on high speed all-terrain motorbikes and another group in armoured vehicles to the reported area.
- Simultaneously, drone surveillance is launched.
- With the help of combined electronic intelligence (drone feed and other surveillance equipment installed at the border service offices) it is found that the border has been breached at several points.
- The control centre mobilizes duty helicopters and amphibious special group consisting of the troops from the border guards and national security.
- The drone surveillance reveals that border violators have formed two groups, continuing their inward advance.
- Clash breaks out between one group of the intruders and the border guards. A trained watch dog (German shepherd) of the border service manages to hold an intruder who was lagging behind his group. The captured intruder is brought in for interrogation.
- The helicopter reaches the scene of conflict and drops the assault group. However, the second group of intruders is still not engaged.
- A reconnaissance aircraft gives additional video feed to help assess the ground situation. Together with this, the interrogation of the captured intruder reveals that about 100 armed persons have crossed the border by various means.
- This information is shared with the command control centre and with the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.
- A vehicle-mounted loudspeaker is used to ask the intruders to retreat or surrender. They disregard the message and continue to advance.
- Several assault and attack helicopters are scrambled to repel, capture or liquidate them.
- The military, the ministry of national security, the border services, the ministry of interior, and the state service for the security of a healthy society (state service to combat drugs) dispatch combined troops in all-terrain armoured vehicles including BMP-2, Cobra, Survivor, Mantra, Iveco and Hilux to the hot spot.
- These troops engage the intruders who are also being pounded by the helicopters.
- The clash results in the total elimination of the intruders.
The exercise took place in a training area that is typical of most of the border terrain of Turkmenistan except for the Kopet Dag mountain tract with Iran.
In addition to practice in border protection, there were apparently several other objectives for this exercise:
- Testing of the newly acquired hardware including all-terrain, all-weather vehicles and motorbikes
- Testing of the skills of the drone operators
- Testing of the reliability of transfer of data/feed from drone and surveillance aircraft to the control centre
- Testing of the equipment and operators at the control centre to judge the extent and accuracy of their ability to maintain a real-time picture of the border situation
- Testing of the leadership to interpret the ensuing picture and launch an appropriate response
- Testing of the ability of military, paramilitary forces (including border guards) and other services to conduct a coordinated and adequate response to a border situation
The exercise took place the same day that Turkmenistan put into service its new office complex for border service, which has a central control room for round-the-clock border surveillance, collecting and collating feed from several sources including border posts, drones, surveillance aircraft and helicopters, and human intelligence.
Together with the commissioning of this control centre, Turkmenistan inducted the same day new vehicles and all-terrain, all weather motorbikes.
Turkmenistan has very long borders: Caspian shore – 1786 km; with Afghanistan – 744 km; with Uzbekistan – 1621 km; with Kazakhstan – 379 km; and with Iran – 992 km.
In all, Turkmenistan is faced with the daunting task of protection 5522 kilometers of border.
The nature of challenge and potential threat from each side is different, the most complex being the eastern and southern borders.
During the last seven years Turkmenistan has been building systematically its capacity to protect the borders.
The exercise Sunday demonstrated the extent of modernization in the border protection system of Turkmenistan. It is marvelous.
There is no doubt that with its newly commissioned central control system, the surveillance drones and aircraft, the reconnaissance and response helicopters, the rugged vehicles and motorbikes, the well trained troops and officers, the functioning system of coordination among services, Turkmenistan is well placed to respond adequately to all kinds of border violations.