Ukrainian and American naval aircrew are taking part in joint patrol flights in the Black Sea this week as part of the international Sea Breeze 2012 military exercises which started on July 9 in the port city of Odessa, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Ukrainian and U.S. forces are carrying out exercises simulating anti-piracy and humanitarian operations, the ministry says.
The main aim of the exercise is to develop joint operations procedures for the use in the Black Sea, said Col. Andrei Orlov of the Ukraine Defense Ministry's at a meeting with Lockheed P-3 Orion patrol aircrew at Odessa airport.
"During the exercises, military aviators will develop search and rescue capabilities in the sea area and also train against naval air defenses. The participants will also improve cooperation in deck landings by helicopters," Orlov said.
The Ukrainian Navy will contribute a Kamov Ka-27 helicopter to the exercise from the frigate Getman Sagaidachny, a Beriev Be-12 turboprop amphibian maritime patrol aircraft and a Mil Mi-14 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
The U.S. forces will be represented by a P-3 Orion and a ship-based Sikorsky SH-60 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
Sea Breeze exercises by NATO forces began in 1997, and have often been with hostility by anti-NATO political forces in Ukraine, including the Communist Party. In 2009 the Ukrainian parliament withheld approval for the exercise, but it went ahead again in 2010.