Over 200 Royal Australian Air Force personnel, six F/A-18AF Super Hornets, a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport and C-130J Hercules have arrived at Andersen Air Force Base for Exercise Cope North Guam 2016.
Commander of the Australian Contingent, Group Captain Glen Braz, said “Exercise Cope North enables RAAF personnel to work closely with our key allies in the region to improve interoperability and effectiveness in a multilateral environment.”
This year participating forces from the United States, Japan and Australia will focus on air combat training including a large force employment phase. A parallel multi-lateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief phase will also form an important training element of the exercise.
“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,” Group Captain Braz said.
“This will be the second time the F/A-18F Super Hornets will participate in Cope North and it will be great to have the opportunity to test the aircraft in this kind of scenario.
“Australia has for a long time worked very closely with the US to develop our tactics, techniques and procedures. An exercise such as Cope North gives us the opportunity to validate the effectiveness of our training in a complex and demanding air combat scenario”.
“I am particularly excited to be working with elements of the Japan Air Self Defence Force. I believe there is a lot we can learn from each other”.
The humanitarian and disaster relief component of the exercise, to operate from 14 to 17 February, will focus on providing support in the aftermath of a simulated earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
“Disaster relief exercises like this are an invaluable opportunity to learn and improve our procedures before we are called on to participate in a real-time natural disaster,” Group Captain Braz said.
“The Asia-Pacific region in particular is prone to many natural disasters so it’s important to ensure the countries who regularly assist during the disasters can work together in the same way to maximise our disaster assistance and provide relief as soon as possible.”
Countries participating in the humanitarian and disaster relief component include the United States Air Force, United States Navy, RAAF, Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF), Philippines Air Force (PAF), Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). The Exercise also includes the International observers from Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
This is the fifth time the RAAF has participated in Cope North Guam, a bi-annual exercise that started 1978. The exercise will run from the 10-26 February 2016.
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999