By Senior Airman Ryan Whitney , 36th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 12, 2009
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- U.S. and Japanese forces completed an annual two-week bilateral exercise Feb. 13, that was designed to increase interoperability between the two nations.
Cope North 09-1 is a Pacific-Command sponsored exercise that was designed and developed by 13th Air Force, Detachment 1, to increase combat readiness and interoperability between the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and the Japan Air Self Defense Force countries in defense of Japan. This is the ninth time this exercise has been conducted at Andersen.
An experience that has proven to build valuable relationships with allies of the U.S. "Cope North allows us to continue to build the trust and confidence in each other as military forces that will enable us to do a whole range of things as we move forward together as alliance partners," said Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Japan and the 5th Air Force.
"We plan on strengthening these alliances by working with our Navy and JASDF counterparts to better integrate our forces, and help each other gain a better understanding of how each force deploys their assets," said Maj. August Marquardt, an exercise coordinator from 13th AF/Det. 1.
More than 400 U.S. and JASDF members, and more than 20 aircraft, including JASDF F-2's, JASDF E-2C Hawkeyes, U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowlers participated in the exercise. For the first time in the Cope North exercise, B-52 Stratofortress' from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed to Andersen from Minot, N.D., and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 18th Aggressor Squadron, Eielson participate.
The exercise was broken into two phases.
Phase One, which ran from Feb. 2-7, provided participants two days of local area orientation flights and four days of air to ground strikes. During the ATG missions, the Japanese pilots successfully deployed all 20 of the M-82 bombs they brought from Tsuiki Air Base.
"This was the fourth time that the JASDF team has had the experience of using live weapons at Cope North," said Col. Larry Bowers, 13th AF/Det 1 commander. "The live ordnance that they deployed here provided our allies with experience they can't get back home."
Since there is no live bombing range in Japan, JASDF pilots do not get many opportunities to train using live weapons.
"Because of the restrictions in [Japan], we do not get to use live bombs," said Col. Yutako Masuko, JASDF exercise commander. "The experience we are getting flying with U.S. pilots here on Guam is wonderful."
The second phase of the exercise was from Feb. 9-13. It was comprised of three days of dissimilar air combat training, followed two days of large force exercises.
The DACT portion consisted of simulated air to air warfare between the red and blue forces, or aggressor and friendly forces, respectively. The DACT portion started with two blue air members vs. two red air members, and gradually growing in participants to four vs. two, then four vs. four.
After DACT, aircrews participated in the large force exercise, which culminated all of the information they learned throughout the exercise. In the LFE scenario, blue forces, or friendly forces, conducted both bomber escort missions, and interception of a capable red force attacking and bombing Japan.
Throughout the exercise, the 18th Aggressor Squadron played as red air. This is one of three specially trained units in the Air Force, whose members have been trained to mirror the way enemy forces maneuver and operate.
"To provide the most realistic experience to participants, for the first time in Cope North, Aggressors from Eielson have come here to play the red forces," Major Marquardt said. "These pilots are specially trained in adversarial tactics, and their job is to simulate the best bad guy possible. Flying against the aggressors provides an invaluable experience that is as close as it gets to being at war."
This was also the first time B-52s participated, helping aircrews learn the capabilities the bombers bring to the Pacific theater. The bombers from the 23rd EBS are here in support of Andersen's Global Deterrence mission.
"It's a really great [experience] to participate in this Cope North Guam exercise," said Maj. Masataka Oguro, a JASDF F-2 pilot. "Flying with U.S. Air Force [pilots] and training with them is really wonderful."
While the exercise offers invaluable experience to JASDF and U.S. pilots alike, it wouldn't be possible without the support of Andersen and Guam, General Rice said. There are many aspects to Andersen that make this an ideal location. From the live bomb ranges and favorable weather to the positive relationships with the people of Guam, Andersen provides an experience like no other.
"We have a good relationship with the people of Guam who facilitate this exercise without any real restrictions on us," said General Rice. Andersen really replicates the types of environments that we would fight in [in a conflict] and provides a great experience for participants."
"I would like to thank the 36th Wing, and the citizens of Guam, for the hospitality that they have shown since our arrival. Without their support, the interaction and interoperability we experience with Japan in this exercise would not be possible," said Major Marquardt.
This exercise does not reflect any real world events.