The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed one C-27J Spartan aircraft and personnel to participate in Exercise Cope North in Guam, which will run from 8 to 24 February 2023.
FILE PHOTO: Royal Australian Air Force loadmaster Corporal Daniel Smith (centre) guides a United States Air Force Humvee out of a 35 Squadron C-27J Spartan on Tinian island, Northern Marianas, during Exercise Cope North 2022. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Sam Price.
The long-standing joint military exercise focuses on increased combat readiness and humanitarian assistance training with the United States and Japan.
RAAF will train alongside the United States Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) at Andersen Air Force Base, Won Pat International Airport, and North West Field (Guam); Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands including Rota, Tinian, and Saipan; Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia; Iwo To, Japan; and the Republic of Palau.
Despite the much-reduced presence this year, RAAF Task Group Commander Group Captain Robert Graham said Cope North 23 would be an excellent opportunity to consolidate and further enhance interoperability with the United States and Japan.
“Exercise Cope North 23 will provide training opportunities and invaluable experience for our people in a challenging scenario, and we are looking forward to working with our friends from the United States and Japan again,” Group Captain Graham said.
“We are focused on deepening relationships and strengthening engagement with the United States Pacific Air Forces and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.”
Exercise Cope North 23 will enhance the trilateral forces’ capability for agile combat employment by operating from multiple locations on Guam and surrounding islands.
“A testing scenario involving humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will drive a range of planning and logistics challenges which will need our combined capability with the United States and Japan to deliver credible responses,” Group Captain Graham said.
“The RAAF is committed to developing capable and skilled aviators – and exercises such as Cope North provide an excellent opportunity to train as a combined force with our allies and partners, improving our ability to deliver air power when and where required.”
Established in 1978 as a quarterly bilateral exercise held at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Cope North moved to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam in 1999.
It is the United States Pacific Air Forces’ largest multilateral exercise.
2023 marks the 13th year the RAAF will travel to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to participate in Exercise Cope North.
Approximately 100 aircraft and 2000 service members from the US, Japan and France will train alongside Australia’s one C-27J Spartan.
Australia’s contingent last year included E-7A Wedgetail, C-27J Spartan, KC-30A multi-role tanker transport and “a squadron-sized footprint” of F-35A Lightning II fighters, as well as air and ground crews and a contingency response squadron.