The Antigua and Barbuda Defense Forces have taken a leap in their defensive and offensive abilities by acquiring a new aircraft for their fleet. The aircraft has been named the ‘Alpha 2’ and makes up one half of a set of two 9-seater aircrafts being used by the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Forces.
Lieutenant Colonel Alando Michael of the Defense Forces explained that the ‘Alpha 2’, along with it’s twin, the ‘Alpha 1’ is expected to carry out a variety of mission types including medivac services, movement of troops, humanitarian disaster recovery and search and rescue efforts.
He also added that the new acquisition gives the Defense Forces more versatility and capability. With ‘Alpha 2’ being operational, the Defense Forces have the ability to remedy two operational requirements at the same time. Earlier, the Defense Forces found themselves being limited as ‘Alpha 1’ could only be in one place at one time.
“Let’s say for instance, we had to go to St Lucia, and at the same time we had a call from Barbuda for a medevac. It now allows us the versatility to be in two places at once,” the lieutenant colonel said while speaking with news media representatives.
Lieutenant Colonel Alando Michael also delineated that another function of the aircraft it to act as a transport craft for Heads of State when commercial airlines are either contraindicated or unavailable.
He also highlighted the fact that Antigua and Barbuda’s air wing doesn’t just serve the nation itself but also provides its expertise to eleven other nations which fall under the Regional Security System (RSS) umbrella.
He further explained that an air wing is essentially a military aircraft unit that might consist of dozens of aircrafts.
The medivac facility focuses on the transport or retrieval of sick or injured individuals in case of an emergency or if they are in a remote location. This facility usually employs helicopters or planes, and in this case, ‘Alpha 2’ has the capability to fulfill that exact requirement as well.
The Regional Security System (RSS) was established in the early 1980s with the express purpose of ensuring the security and stability of member nations while cementing a structure that promised regional security on the whole.
Currently, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Barbados are the twelve members of the Regional Security System (RSS).