Multilateral military exercise COPE North 2020 is currently underway at Andersen Air Base in the US territory of Guam, with participation from the US Military, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.
The training exercise began on 12 February and will run until 28 February. More than 2,000 military personnel and and over 100 aircraft have taken part in this year's exercise, which focuses on combat readiness and interoperability.
The event saw humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises to help promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region, along with strike mission training within the first week. The second week has seen a focus on air combat tactics and large force employment training.
“It’s a pleasure to stand here on this strategic rock with our strategic partners – Japan and the United States of America,” said RAAF Group Captain Hinton Tayloe, CN20 exercise director, in a statement for US Indo-Pacific Command.
“Cope North is a collective demonstration of our readiness and resolve to live by our higher principles.”
“Each year we get a different team of units coming out here to meet and learn from one another, and this year we’re asked to replicate a more advanced threat,” said US Air Force Captain Travis Worden, 18th AGRS pilot and chief of weapons.
“This is going to force much more planning and integration among international partners to find a valid solution. Ultimately, the design being at the end of this exercise, we’ll all be stronger for it.”
The exercise will also see combat exercises led by "red air" pilots trained at simulating potential combatant nations forcing "blue air" groups from each country to respond and co-operate according to the threats presented.
“We are that force to punch blue air in the mouth,” Capt Worden said.
“We pride ourselves in doing everything we can in order to capitalise on mistakes our ‘good guys’ are making. The goal being in the long run the United States, Japanese and Australian militaries are stronger for it.”
“I’m very excited to participate in the complicated, large force employment,” said Japan Air Self-Defense Force Captain Yutaka Aoyama, 305 Squadron F-15 pilot.
“We cannot conduct such a large force employment in Japan, so this training will be extremely beneficial. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge.”
These mutually beneficial exercises grow the alliances between the three nations and provide an advantage that rivals would find difficult to match.
COPE North has included air operations for the last 40 years and helps promote the greater security of the region.