Cope North

Military personnel from the US, Australian, Japanese, South Korean, New Zealand and the Philippines Air Forces have started a multilateral air defence exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, US.

The exercise is code-named Cope North 15. It aims to increase interoperability, improve combat readiness, and develop a synergistic disaster response capability between the participating countries.

Approximately 2,000 soldiers are involved in the exercise, as well as nearly 100 aircraft from 23 different flying units from the various air forces. Singapore and Vietnam Air Forces are also participating as observers

The exercise will be carried out in two phases. It will include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) training involving air base opening and aeromedical evacuations.

"The exercise, code-named Cope North 15, aims to develop a synergistic disaster response capability between the participating countries."

The air combat training portion includes air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and a large force employment exercise.

Cope North 15 exercise director colonel David Mineau said: "All of our forces have strengths and weak areas, but coming together, we can hone our abilities by listening to each other, increasing our interoperability and sharing techniques, tactics and procedures to make us more effective and to promote peace and stability in the region."

Australian Contingent commander group captain Phil Gordon said: "The air combat training will give us a greater understanding of each other’s capabilities and the ways in which we can work together as part of a coalition.

"Due to the continual demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, exercises like this are an invaluable opportunity to learn and improve our procedures before we are called on to do it for real."

With expeditionary elements operating from the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands of Rota and Tinian, Exercise Cope North 15 is scheduled to conclude on 27 February.

Image: Airmen transfer a simulated critical care patient to a Japan Air Self-Defense Force aeromedical evacuation team during exercise Cope North 15 at Sinapalo, Rota. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Tech Sgt Jason Robertson.