The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is conducting a trilateral air defence exercise, code-named Exercise Cope North Guam 2013, with the US Air Force (USAF) and Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, US.

Around 230 RAAF personnel, along with 1,000 USAF and 350 JASDF representatives, are participating in the exercise, which is scheduled to run until 14 February.

RAAF is deploying seven F/A-18A Hornet, an E-7A Wedgetail, KC-30A multirole tanker transport and C-130J Hercules aircraft, whereas the USAF is contributing its F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-52 Stratofortress, F-15 Eagle, E-3 Sentry, C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

JASDF is participating with its F-15J Eagle, F-2 support fighter aircraft, C-130 Hercules, KC-767 Air Refueller and E-2C Hawkeye aircraft in the drill, which includes humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training besides air combat, strike mission training and large force employment training.

"Around 230 RAAF personnel, along with 1,000 USAF and 350 JASDF representatives, are participating."

Australian commander group captain Robert Chipman said the exercise enables RAAF servicemen to integrate with a joint task force in order to learn the operational tactics of other countries.

”In the mixed operational environment that the RAAF deploy in, this training will be invaluable and there will be many important lessons learnt from our participation in this exercise,” Chipman added.

”Cope North will allow the aircrew to develop an appreciation of the capabilities and strengths of the different aircraft types, which is valuable training for air combat and surveillance and response group personnel who may be required to operate in a coalition environment in the future.”

Conducted since 1978, Exercise Cope North Guam is a multilateral Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise (FTX) designed to enhance interoperability, strengthen mutual relationships and improve tactical abilities of the US, Japanese and Australian militaries.

Image: An RAAF’s KC-30A MRTT aircraft arrives at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Photo courtesy of LAC Craig Barrett/© Commonwealth of Australia.

Defence Technology