Ukrainian and U.S. special operations forces train together

Ukrainian and U.S. special operations forces soldiers conduct static-line and free-fall training as part of a multinational exercise that includes the efforts of ten allied and partner nations, Defence Blog reports.
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On September 20, 2020, U.S. and Ukrainian special forces soldiers conducted a joint insertion and extraction training near Berdychiv, Ukraine, from a USAF CV-22 Osprey (Picture source: Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Mendez)

TA U.S. Air Force MC-130J Commando II and CV-22 Ospreys, assigned to the 352nd Special Operations Wing, U.K. deployed to Ukraine to demonstrate a commitment to the Black Sea region, as well as support the Ukrainisn Special operations and air force capabilities. On September 20, 2020, soldiers of both nations conducted free fall jumps and fast-rope training near Berdychiv, Ukraine, from USAF CV-22 Ospreys assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing based at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

The Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II multimission combat transport/special operations tanker, assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), delivers increased combat performance to the warfighter with its more powerful engines and unique features. As it replaces the older MC-130N/P Combat Shadow II aircraft, the MC-130J provides AFSOC with a modern aircraft capable of worldwide employment for missions requiring clandestine single- or multi-ship low-level aerial refueling of Special Operation Force vertical and tilt-rotor aircraft and/or infiltration, resupply and exfiltration by airdrop, or landing on remote airfields.

The USAF's first operational CV-22B Osprey was delivered to the 58th Special Operations Wing (58th SOW) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, on 20 March 2006. Early aircraft were delivered to the 58th SOW and used for training personnel for special operations use. On 16 November 2006, the USAF officially accepted the CV-22 in a ceremony conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida. In 2015, the USAF sought to configure the CV-22 to perform combat search and rescue in addition to its long-range special operations transport mission. It would complement the HH-60G Pave Hawk and planned HH-60W rescue helicopters, being employed in scenarios where high speed is better suited to search and rescue than more nimble but slower helicopters.

Like all post-Soviet states, Ukraine inherited its special forces (Spetsnaz) units from the remnants of the Soviet armed forces, GRU and KGB units. Ukraine now maintains its own Spetsnaz structure under the control of the Ministry of Interior, and under the Ministry of Defense, while the Security Service of Ukraine maintains its own Spetsnaz force, the Alpha group. The term "Alpha" is also used by many other post Soviet states such as Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan as these units are based on the Soviet Union's Alpha Group. Special Forces Command numbers over 4,000 spetsnaz operatives, all of whom are professional soldiers.