RAAF participates in 2017 Cope North exercise


The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been deployed to US island territory Guam to participate in the ongoing bi-annual high-end air combat and humanitarian assistance exercise, Cope North 2017.

The Exercise Cope North 2017 will help develop and enhance combat readiness, humanitarian assistance procedures, along with improving the interoperability between the three air forces of the US, Japan and Australia.

Around 12 units of twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet F/A-18A Hornet from Number 3 Squadron at RAAF Williamtown will participate in the exercise and will operate along with other aircraft from the US and Japan.

Exercise Cope North Australian commander group captain Tim Alsop said: “This is the sixth time Australia has participated in the exercise.

“Every year we gain more appreciation of how our equipment, aircraft and personnel operate together in this environment.

“Cope North gives us the opportunity to validate how effective our training is in a complex and demanding air combat scenario.”

Additionally, RAAF’s Number 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning aircraft will also be assigned for the Cope North exercise and will be used to offer a command and control capability to the exercise.

"Cope North gives us the opportunity to validate how effective our training is in a complex and demanding air combat scenario."

Also, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft C-130J Hercules will be deployed to carry out the humanitarian assistance procedures, as well as provide an air drop capability and combat search and rescue feature.

A combat support element and aeromedical evacuation team will also participate in the exercise with an aim to improve interoperability among the forces from the US, Australian and Japan.

Held at Andersen Air Force base in Guam, Exercise Cope North 2017 will be hosted by the US Pacific Air Force and is scheduled to conclude on 3 March this year.


Image: Exercise Cope North 2017 held in Guam. Photo: courtesy of © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.