RAAF in Guam for exercises with US, Japan
Seven F/A-18A Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, and C-130J Hercules with 230 Royal Australian Air Force personnel are participating in Exercise Cope North Guam 2013 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The tri-lateral air defence exercise allows the aircrew to enhance their tactical skills and joint operational capability alongside military aircraft from the United States Air Force (USAF) and Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF).
Cope North Guam 2013 is the first time RAAF’s KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport has exercised outside of Australia, and will be conducted until 15 February 2013.
The C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond and Combat Support personnel will be concentrating their efforts in a concurrent exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Commander of the Australian contingent for the exercise, Group Captain Robert Chipman, said the exercise will provide excellent opportunities for RAAF personnel to integrate with a joint task force to learn how other countries operate.
“In the mixed operational environment that the RAAF deploy in, this training will be invaluable and there will be many important lessons learnt from our participation in this exercise,” Group Captain Chipman said.
“Cope North will allow the aircrew to develop an appreciation of the capabilities and strengths of the different aircraft types which is valuable training for Air combat and Surveillance and Response Group personnel who may be required to operate in a coalition environment in the future.
“For the members participating in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise this gives the personnel an opportunity to be skilled at working with coalition forces in deployed environment. Without these exercises, personnel won’t get this vital understanding until they are deployed in real time.”
This is the second time the RAAF has participated in Cope North Guam, a bi-annual exercise historically for USAF and JASDF that started 1978.
The international aircraft comprises of the USAF’s F-16 Fighting Falcons, B-52 Stratofortress, F-15 Eagles, E-3 Sentry, C-130 Hercules and KC-135; and JASDF’s F-15J Eagles, F-2 Support Fighter Aircraft, C-130 Hercules, KC-767 Air Refueler and E-2C Hawkeye.