Australia, Japan, US Prepare for Cope North 22 Air Force Drills

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Writer
Caden Pearson is a journalist based in Australia. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
January 27, 2022 Updated: January 27, 2022

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF) will come together with Japan’s air self-defence force for Cope North 2022 military exercises in Guam in February.

The trilateral drills are set to run from Feb. 2 to 18 and will focus on enhancing interoperability between the RAAF, the USAF, and Japan’s Koku-Jieitai air self-defence force.

This will be the first joint military exercises between Australia and Japan since the two signed a historic defence agreement at the start of January.

The reciprocal agreement—Japan’s only such pact—increases the interoperability between the Australian Defence Force and Japan’s Self-Defence Force, including for humanitarian response purposes.

Epoch Times Photo
Royal Australian Air Force Air Battle Manager, Squadron Leader Nathan Yabsley is the Executive Officer of Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU) based at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, in New South Wales Sept. 27, 2021. (LACW Catherine Kelly/ADF)

During Cope North 22, the allies will work to increase interoperability through combined tactics, techniques, and procedures for providing humanitarian and disaster relief.

It will also provide an opportunity for pilots from the trilateral forces to practice in environments with a large number of aircraft operating at once.

“We are very pleased to be heading back to Guam for Cope North 22, which will provide invaluable experience for our personnel and enhances the effectiveness of the RAAF,” said Group Captain Andrew McHugh, the RAAF Task Unit Commander.

“Through Cope North 22, we are focused on deepening relationships and strengthening engagement with the USAF’s Pacific Air Force and the Koku-Jieitai, to contribute to our shared vision of an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.”

Epoch Times Photo
C-27J Spartan aircraft on the hardstand at No. 35 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, on Oct. 19, 2021. (CPL Jesse Kane/ADF)
Epoch Times Photo
A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft taxies out for a sortie during Exercise Lightning Storm, Queensland, on Aug. 19, 2020. (CPL Melina Young/ADF)

The RAAF will deploy its early warning control aircraft, the E-7A Wedgetail, transport aircraft the C-27J Spartan, the KC-30A multi-role tanker transport, and F-35A Lightning II stealth combat aircraft, alongside a contingency response squadron focused on humanitarian and disaster relief training.

“Cope North 22 will enhance the tri-lateral forces’ capability for HADR in the Indo-Pacific, ensuring a highly effective and professional response, when needed,” McHugh said.

“We are committed to developing an intelligent and skilled workforce with exercises such as Cope North providing the opportunity to operate as a combined force with the United States and Japan, and ensure our people can deliver airpower when required.”

Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a journalist based in Australia. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au