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US, Japan, Australia kick off joint air exercise


Cope North 2010. A file photo

ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, GUAM (BNS): The air forces of US, Japan and Australia have begun a trilateral military exercise codenamed Cope North in the Anderson Air Force Base, US.

The bi-annual exercise, involving over 1,000 military personnel and leading fighter jets of the US Air Force (USAF), Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), is designed to allow the aircrew to enhance their tactical skills and joint operational capability.

The Andersen Air Force Base has hosted Cope North for 10 years as a bilateral training event between the JASDF and US Air Force.

This year's exercise involves the RAAF for the first time which is taking part in the drill with its recently acquired Super Hornet fighters and airborne early warning and control (AEAWC) aircraft, Wedgetail.

"Exercise 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," Commander of the Australian contingent for the exercise, Group Captain Geoffrey Harland, said.

During Cope North, participating forces will demonstrate the ability to effectively deploy forces and train together to improve aircrew abilities to employ tactical air power as a multinational force, officials said.

While the USAF's F-15 and F-16 fighters, B-52 bombers and KC-135 tanker will participate in the multinational drill, JASDF will take part with its F-15J and F-2 fighters, and E2C airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft.

This year's exercise runs from February 11 to 24.

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