An RAAF task force has been deployed to Guam to participate in a large-scale joint military exercise with the US Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force focused on building specialist air combat and airlift capabilities.
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The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed 16 aircraft and over 450 personnel to participate in Exercise Cope North in Guam. The exercise focuses on interoperability with Australia’s counterparts from the United States and Japan.
Exercise Cope North, held from 18 February to 8 March 2019 at Andersen Air Force Base, is a long-standing joint military exercise to improve combat readiness, humanitarian assistance procedures and cooperation between the defence forces of the United States, Australia and Japan.
Group Captain Nicholas Hogan, Australian Commander for Exercise Cope North, said it was an effective way to strengthen military alliances, saying, “More than 2,900 military personnel and approximately 100 aircraft from the RAAF, United States Air Force, United States Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force will participate.”
The bilateral exercise is designed to enhance joint operational capability alongside military aircraft from the United States Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defence Force.
Twelve F-18A Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, two C-27J Spartans, a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, a Combat Support Element and an Aeromedical Evacuation Team have been deployed to the exercise.
“The exercise will begin with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training and conclude with air combat and large force employment training to refine our procedures and operate more effectively alongside our military partners in the region,” Group Captain Hogan said.
The exercise provides a quality venue to develop multilateral interoperability and coalition procedures in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and air power missions, to include air superiority, close air support, interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical airlift, aerial refuelling and airborne command and control.
Aircrew will be exposed to large force employment on a scale not possible in Australia when they perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air and surveillance support.