RAAF joins Japanese and American aircraft exercises in Guam.

By: Robert Dougherty

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-27J Spartan transport aircraft have begun arriving in Guam for the Cope North 23 multinational task force exercise.

More than 100 Japanese, American, French and RAAF aircraft will fly 1,200 sorties in operations overseen by the command and control multinational task force from 8 to 24 February.

Cope North 23 (CN23) focuses on enhancing security and stability for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, through integration of allies and partners for large-force employment, agile combat employment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.

RAAF Task Group Commander, Group Captain Robert Graham said CN23 will 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,” GPCAPT Graham said.

“We are focused on deepening relationships and strengthening engagement with the United States Pacific Air Forces and the Japan Air Self-Defence Force.”

Operations will be launched from Andersen Air Force Base, Won Pat International Airport, and Northwest Field as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for the US Pacific Air Forces’ largest multilateral exercise.

“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,” GPCAPT Graham said.

“The RAAF is committed to developing capable and skilled aviators — 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.”

The exercise will also reinforce humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training to support any type of disaster in the Indo-Pacific region.

CN23 exercises were originally established in 1978 as a quarterly bilateral exercise held at Misawa Air Base in Japan before moving to Andersen Air Force Base in 1999.

This year marks the 13th year the RAAF will travel to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to participate in Exercise Cope North.

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