The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed 13 aircraft and 373 personnel to focus on interoperability with United States and Japanese counterparts as part of Exercise Cope North in Guam.

Exercise Cope North at Andersen Air Force Base is held from February 12-28 and is a long-standing joint military exercise which aims to improve combat readiness, humanitarian assistance procedures and interoperability between the forces of the United States, Australia and Japan.

The Australian commander for Exercise Cope North, Group Captain Hinton Tayloe, said the exercise had proven to be an effective way to strengthen military partnerships, common understanding and interoperability. 

“More than 2300 military personnel and approximately 100 aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force, United States Air Force, United States Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force are participating in this exercise,” Group Captain Tayloe said.

“This exercise begun with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training followed by air combat and large force employment training.

“Exercise Cope North allows us to continue to refine our procedures to operate more effectively alongside our military partners in the region.

“We are very excited about returning to Guam for Cope North 20 and look forward to training and enhancing our interoperability, and strengthening relationships with the United States and Japan.”

The Air Force personnel include elements of Air Combat Group, Surveillance and Response Group, Air Mobility Group, Combat Support Group and the Air Warfare Centre.

Eleven F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, a KC-30A multirole tanker transport, and a combat support element team have deployed to the exercise.

Cope North provides a scenario that develops multilateral interoperability and coalition procedures in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, air power missions, including air superiority, close air support, interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical air mobility, and airborne command and control. 

Humanitarian assistance, disaster relief exercises and strike mission training will be conducted during the first week while air combat tactics and large force employment training will be the focus of the second week. 

It's the 10th time Australia has participated in Cope North.