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(L-R) United States Air Force (USAF) 36 Wing Commander, Brigadier General Doucette, USAF 13th Air Force Detachment 1 Commander, Colonel Marc Reese, Japan Air Self-Defense (JASDF) Exercise Director, Colonel Takahashi, and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Exercise Director, Group Captain Geoff Harland, lead the formation of the United States Air Force, JASDF and RAAF personnel participating in Exercise Cope North Guam 2012 in a pre-exercise group photograph.

Seven F/A-18A Hornets, E-7A Wedgetail, KC-30A Multi-role Tanker and a C-130J Hercules along with 230 Air Force personnel are participating in world-class air combat and surveillance training in the skies above Guam from 4 – 15 February as part of Exercise Cope North Guam 2013.

Exercise Cope North Guam aims to cultivate regional ties and seeks to enhance Australia’s interoperability with the armed forces of Japan and the United States of America. The bilateral exercise is designed to enhance joint operational capability alongside military aircraft from the United States Air Force (USAF) and Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF). During Cope North 2013, participating forces will train together to improve coalition strike capabilities against transnational terrorist threats.

This is the second time the Royal Australian Air Force has participated in Cope North Guam. The exercise provides a quality venue to develop multilateral interoperability and coalition procedures in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, air power missions, to include air superiority, close air support, interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical airlift, aerial refuelling and airborne command and control.

Aircrew will be exposed to large force employment on a scale not possible in Australia, when they perform counter air, precision strike and offensive air and surveillance support.

ADF commitment

F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-220, from the Royal Australian Air Forces No. 1 Squadron (1SQN), sits on the tarmac at Andersen Air Force Base whilst a Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter takes to the air for a mission during Exercise Cope North Guam 2012.

Two hundred and thirty Royal Australian Air Force personnel from four Force element Groups will participate in Exercise Cope North Guam 2013. The RAAF is deploying seven F/A-18A Hornets from Number 3 Squadron located at RAAF Base Williamtown with 106 personnel. This includes personnel from professions such as engineering, maintenance, security, pilots, admin and supply.

Surveillance and Response Group will deploy Number 2 Squadron and an E-7A Wedgetail with 52 members that consist of pilots, air combat officers, airborne electronic analysts, maintenance, administration and intelligence officers.

Air Lift Group will deploy a C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond’s Number 37 Squadron and a KC-30A from RAAF Base Amberley’s Number 33 Squadron.

Combat Support Group will be deploying 16 members specialising in security, logistics comprising an air load team, communications, health, ground engineering, and administration and coordination capabilities

The C-130J and Combat Support element will be participating in a separate, yet concurrent exercise, based on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, air power missions, including air superiority, close air support, interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical airlift, aerial refuelling and airborne command and control.