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Exercise Cope North 22 gets underway

written by Staff reporter | February 10, 2022

Two fifth-generation F-35As en route to their new home at No. 75 Squadron, RAAF Base Tindal, Northern Territory. (CPL Jesse Kane, Defence)

RAAF personnel have commenced interoperability training with counterparts from the US and Japan.

Exercise Cope North 22 has kicked off, with the Royal Australian Air Force linking up with the United States Air Force and the Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) in Guam and other islands in Micronesia.

The exercise aims to bolster interoperability through humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) training exercises involving both air and ground forces.

The RAAF has deployed E-7A Wedgetail, C-27J Spartan, KC-30A multirole tanker transport and F-35A Lightning II aircraft, as well as a contingency response squadron focused on HADR training.

RAAF Task Group Commander Group Captain Andrew McHugh noted the importance of trilateral engagement.

“Exercise Cope North is focused on interoperability with our partner nations through combined tactics, techniques and procedures for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and the mass combat and air mobility missions,” GPCAPT McHugh said.

“Working alongside the United States Air Force and the Koku-Jieitai in a realistic training scenario across complex island terrain will further enhance our capabilities to ensure we are able to provide timely and effective responses when called upon in real-time situations.

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“By bringing together the trilateral forces, we are able to strengthen our capabilities as a larger combined force, which is essential for an open, prosperous, inclusive and secure Indo-Pacific.”

Exercise Cope North 22 is scheduled to wrap up on Friday, 18 February.

Australia’s participation in Exercise Cope North 22 was announced last month.

“We are very pleased to be heading back to Guam for Cope North 22, which will provide invaluable experience for our personnel and enhances the effectiveness of the RAAF,” GPCAPT McHugh said at the time.

“Through Cope North 22, we are focused on deepening relationships and strengthening engagement with the USAF’s Pacific Air Force and the Koku-Jieitai, to contribute to our shared vision of an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.”

GPCAPT McHugh said the exercise would equip the forces with the skills necessary to respond to contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.

“We are committed to developing an intelligent and skilled workforce with exercises such as Cope North providing the opportunity to operate as a combined force with the United States and Japan and ensure our people can deliver air power when required,” he said.

Article courtesy of Defence Connect.

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