Super Hornets and Wedgetail arrive in Guam for Exercise COPE NORTH

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force’s (RAAF) newest capa­bil­i­ties have soared over the coast­line of Guam on their first over­seas mis­sion togeth­er for 2012 dur­ing Exer­cise COPE NORTH.

This is the first time the RAAF has par­tic­i­pat­ed in Exer­cise COPE NORTH, a bi‑annual exer­cise his­tor­i­cal­ly for the Unit­ed States Air Force (USAF) and the Japan­ese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) that start­ed in 1978. 

The Super Hor­nets and Air­borne Ear­ly Warn­ing and Con­trol Wed­getail air­craft, along with 300 Air Force per­son­nel, have com­menced the tri-lat­er­al air defence exer­cise that allows the air­crew to enhance their tac­ti­cal skills and joint oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty along­side mil­i­tary air­craft from the USAF and Japan­ese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

Six of the ‘Rhi­nos’ from Amberley’s Num­ber 1 Squadron and a Wed­getail from Williamtown’s Num­ber 2 Squadron have touched down at Ander­son Air Force Base, Guam, to par­tic­i­pate in their first over­seas deploy­ment with the JASDF. It is the sec­ond over­seas deploy­ment for both the Super Hor­net and Wed­getail since they were deliv­ered to the Air Force. 

Com­man­der of the Aus­tralian con­tin­gent for the exer­cise, Group Cap­tain Geof­frey Har­land, said the exer­cise will pro­vide excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ties for RAAF per­son­nel to inte­grate with a joint task force to learn how oth­er coun­tries operate. 

“The train­ing will be invalu­able and there will be many impor­tant lessons learnt from our par­tic­i­pa­tion in this exer­cise,” Group Cap­tain Har­land said. 

“Exer­cise 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.” 

The inter­na­tion­al air­craft com­pris­es the USAF’s F‑16s, B‑52s, F‑15Cs, F‑16CJs and KC-135, and JASDF’s F‑15Js, F2s and E2Cs. More than 1,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel from around the world are expect­ed to participate. 

Dur­ing Exer­cise COPE NORTH, Num­ber 37 Squadron’s C‑130 will also par­tic­i­pate in a sep­a­rate exer­cise on human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief. 

The exer­cise will run from the 13 to 24 February. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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