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Cope North 12-1 kicks off

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
More than 1,000 military members from units spanning the Pacific are scheduled to begin arriving this week for exercise COPE NORTH 2012. The trilateral exercise, which will run Feb. 11-24, is a multinational exercise designed to enhance air operations between the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air Self Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force.

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. Andersen AFB has hosted Exercise COPE NORTH for ten years as a bilateral training event between the JASDF and U.S. Air Force. COPE NORTH 12 will be the first time the RAAF have participated in this exercise, further demonstrating the regional allies' resolve to promote security and cooperation in this area of responsibility.

"The relationships built and sustained with our multinational partners in the Asia-Pacific region through exercises, civil-military operations, and military exchanges help tremendously in preserving peace and stability in the region, including humanitarian efforts and disaster response," said Maj John Greven, from 13 AF Detachment 1, Yokota AB, Japan.

The field training exercise focuses on coordination and evaluation of air tactics, techniques, and procedures between the three nations.

"Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises, dissimilar air combat training, and strike mission training will be conducted during the first week of the exercise," said Maj Greven, the lead planner for Exercise COPE NORTH 12. "Large force employment training will be the focus of the second week. Additionally, JASDF and USAF will conduct live surface attack tactics training on the Farrallon de Medinilla range in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

For only the fourth time in COPE NORTH history, dedicated opposing forces, or 'red air,' will be integrated in the exercise for training purposes.

"The aggressor aircraft will primarily be played by F-16 Fighting Falcons out of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska," said Maj Greven. "The B-52 Stratofortresses out of the 23rd Bomb Squadron from Minot AFB will be one of the units that will participate as both blue air, or friendly forces, as well as being tasked to simulate opposing forces during some days of the exercise. "

Other U.S. forces participating in exercise COPE NORTH 12 include 13 AF Detachment 1, Yokota AB, Japan, and 353rd Combat Training Squadron from Eielson AFB, AK (Exercise Staff); 13th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa AB, Japan (F-16 Fighting Falcon); 36th Airlift Squadron, 374 Airlift Wing, Yokota AB, Japan (C-130 Hercules); 67 Fighter Squadron (F-15C Eagle), 909 Air Refueling Squadron (KC-135 Stratotanker), and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron (E-3 Sentry), from 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan; 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron, 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AB, AK (E-3 Sentry); 9th Operations Group, Beale AFB, CA, and Detachment 3, Andersen AFB, GU (RQ-4 Global Hawk); 36th Contingency Response Group, Andersen AFB, GU (Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response support).

JASDF will have representatives form Headquarters Air Defense Command, Fuchu AB, Japan (Exercise Staff); 6th Squadron, Tsuiki AB, Japan (F-2 Support Fighter Aircraft); 204th Squadron, Naha AB, Japan (F-15J Eagle); 601st Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan (E-2C Hawkeye).

The RAAF will have representatives from Headquarters Air Command Group (Exercise Staff); 1SQN, RAAF Amberley, Australia (F-18F Super Hornet); 2SQN, RAAF Williamtown, Australia (E-7A Wedgetail); 37SQN, RAAF Richmond, Australia (C-130 Hercules).

The U.S. military is always seeking opportunities to strengthen its relationship with other partner nations through activities such as subject matter expert exchanges, host nation visits, bilateral engagements, and multinational exercises and operations such as those experienced at COPE NORTH.

"As I experienced firsthand during OPERATION TOMODACHI, there is tremendous value added in working and exercising side-by-side with our allies", said Maj Greven. "When real-world events occur, these training events improve our capability to operate in a multinational environment and respond effectively and efficiently. We also send an unequivocal message that our nations are committed to continued peace and stability in the Pacific theater."