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RAAF sends E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A MRTT for Guam exercise

written by Adam Thorn | February 5, 2021

The RAAF will deploy an E-7A Wedgetail, KC-30A MRTT and 170 personnel to participate in Exercise Cope North 21 in Guam, alongside the US and Japan.

The training exercise, first launched in 1978, aims to improve combat readiness and develop “humanitarian assistance procedures”, as well as improving co-operating between participating nations.

This is the eleventh time Australia has joined, and is being held from now until 19 February at Andersen Air Force Base.

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Group Captain Nathan Christie, the Australian Commander for Cope North, said more than 2,000 military personnel and approximately 95 aircraft from would take part in total.

“Australian personnel are drawn from across Air Force with elements of Surveillance and Response Group, Air Mobility Group, and Combat Support Group participating,” GPCAPT Christie said.

“An E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, and a Contingency Response Squadron have also deployed to the exercise.

“The first week will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises and strike mission training, while the second week will focus on air combat tactics and large force employment training.”

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RAAF said all personnel had to return a negative COVID-19 test before being deployed, and all would be required to complete mandatory quarantine on their return.

In January, Australian Aviation reported how RAAF P-8A Poseidons took part in an anti-submarine warfare exercise alongside forces from the US, Japan, Canada, India and New Zealand in Guam.

The 125 hours of in-flight training culminated in a mission to find and track USS Chicago, a US Navy Los Angeles Class nuclear submarine.

Meanwhile, in July 2020, an RAAF taskforce comprising of EA-18G Growlers, F/A-18A Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail and a KC-30A MRTT took part in drills in Guam.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said, “Exercising as a joint force across air and sea allows the Navy and Air Force to understand each other’s warfighting activities, to fight better in the maritime environment, make decisions quickly and fully employ their forces across multiple domains.

“Some of our most advanced capabilities, including the EA-18G Growler and the guided missile destroyer, HMAS Hobart, will be able to integrate in a combined air and sea environment.”

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