A stronger force leaves Guam

Exercise Cope North 24 has finished after a rewarding four weeks in Guam for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), United States Air Force (USAF), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and other allied nations.

CAPTIONRAAF personnel during Exercise Cope North 2024 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, US. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Kurt Lewis.

Deploying more than 200 Australian personnel and a C-27J Spartan to the Northern Mariana Islands, the coalition focused on agile operations, airborne integration and a combined tri-lateral command structure.

Australian Exercise Director for Cope North 24 Wing Commander Simon Longley said the main objective was to build enhanced interoperability with regional partners.

“This is primarily through our interaction on a tri-nation basis with the United States and Japan, but also this year we’re fortunate to include France, Canada and the Republic of Korea to provide a multilateral effect,” Wing Commander Longley said.

“It is important for all countries to train effectively together so we understand how each other employs their combat power and to build an effect that is greater than just one nation operating by itself.”

There have been a number of key milestones during Cope North 24 including a Multinational Task Force (MNTF) led by RAAF and JASDF leadership, and trilateral detachment commanders at each of the spoke airfields.

This served to develop common tactics, techniques and procedures and deeper integration within the coalition, learning how each partner nation does business.

USAF Brigadier General Thomas Palenske was the MNTF Commander and said Cope North 24 demonstrated the interoperability and interchangeable nature of the multilateral force.

“We have proven our service members’ innovation and commitment, that we can cut across language and geographical boundaries, and accomplish extraordinary things,” Brigadier General Palenske said.

“It has been my honour and privilege to serve alongside these amazing individuals.”

Australian personnel had the opportunity to deploy forward to spoke airfields at Tinian, Saipan and North West Field in Guam, with 383 Contingency Response Squadron establishing an expeditionary airbase for the projection of air power.

The Japanese Exercise Director, Lieutenant Colonel Ebihara, said that the focus was on large force employment and agile combat employment with allied nations.

“Japan, the United States and Australia share not only universal values but also strategic interests,” Lieutenant Colonel Ebihara said.

“Promoting the cooperation between the three countries is important and the improvement of interoperability between our nations has a great significance to the realisation of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”


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