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EL-UMAED, October 25. /TASS/. The main phase of the Russian-Egyptian anti-terrorist exercise Defenders of Friendship-2016 (underway on October 15-26) has ended near Egypt’s El-Alamein. Amid the searing desert heat, in adverse climatic conditions and rugged terrain Russian and Egyptian paratroops performed a joint airdrop operation at the Tallet proving ground on Monday to regain a community from hypothetical terrorists.
"It was the culminating point of joint combat training by Russian and Egyptian troops," the Russian contingent’s commander, Colonel Andrey Belyakov, told TASS. "All went well. The aircraft and airborne assault equipment showed excellent performance in local conditions and in mountainous and desert areas," he said.
"The program has been fulfilled," Belyakov said. "By and large we have achieved a level that enables us to perform common tasks."
"Next year we will hold a conference to discuss preparations for another such exercise in Russia," he said.
The Defense Ministry’s press-service earlier said that last Monday’s exercise involved 15 helicopters and planes. Ten military vehicles were parachuted. Russia’s Ilyushin-76MD transport plane dropped five combat vehicles BMD-2 and one armored personnel carrier BTR-D. About 300 Russian and Egyptian paratroops parachuted themselves. All troops used a common communication system. The main phase of the exercise was run by a joint Russian-Egyptian team from a command center at the El-Hammam base. Foreign representatives, including ambassadors and military attaches, were present in the capacity of observers.
"Our men were Russia’s first airborne unit to have participated in an airdrop operation in Egypt," Belyakov said. "We made the first step."