The Royal Australian Air Force will deploy aircraft and personnel to Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to conduct Exercise Cope North 2022 with the United States Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force from 2 to 18 February 2022.
FILE PHOTO: A No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail taxis out to the Andersen Air Force Base runway during Exercise Cope North 20 in Guam. Photo by Corporal David Said.
The trilateral exercise is focused on increased interoperability of the RAAF, USAF and the Koku-Jieitai through combined tactics, techniques and procedures for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations and large-force employment.
RAAF Task Unit Commander Group Captain Andrew McHugh said Cope North 2022 would be an excellent opportunity to further enhance interoperability between the three forces.
“We are very pleased to be heading back to Guam for Cope North 2022, which will provide invaluable experience for our personnel and enhances the effectiveness of the RAAF,” Group Captain McHugh said.
“Through Cope North 2022, we will focus 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.”
RAAF will deploy E-7A Wedgetail, C-27J Spartan, KC-30A multi-role tanker transport and F-35A Lightning II fighters [essential for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief – Ed 😉 ], alongside a contingency response squadron focused on HADR training.
“Cope North 2022 will enhance the tri-lateral forces’ capability for HADR in the Indo-Pacific, ensuring a highly effective and professional response, when needed,” Group Captain McHugh said.
“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 the Japan, and ensure our people can deliver air power when required.”
Exercises remain critical to preparedness for the Australian Defence Force.
RAAF personnel deploying for Exercise Cope North 2022 have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before their departure and will comply with all directions as required.