COPE NORTH 2017 set to strengthen multilateral partnerships in Pacific

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi on the runway at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2017. Airmen from the 14th Fighter Squadron departed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of exercise COPE NORTH 17. The annual exercise serves as a keystone event promoting stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by enabling regional forces to hone vital readiness skills critical to maintaining regional stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi on the runway at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2017. Airmen with the 14th Fighter Squadron departed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of exercise COPE NORTH 2017 (CN17). The annual exercise, which originated here in 1978, serves as a keystone event promoting stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by enabling regional forces to hone vital readiness skills critical to maintaining regional stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

U.S. Air Force Airmen board an aircraft at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2017. The Airmen departed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of exercise COPE NORTH 17. 
CN17 is a long-standing exercise designed to enhance multilateral air operations between the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Airmen board an aircraft at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2017. The Airmen departed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of exercise COPE NORTH 2017 (CN17). CN17 is a long-standing exercise, originating here in 1978, designed to enhance multilateral air operations between the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Forklifts move cargo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 4, 2017. Airmen built pallets two days prior in preparation for exercise COPE NORTH 17. During the cargo movement, the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron moved 85.6 short tons in two chalks for CP17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Airmen utilize forklifts to move cargo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 4, 2017. In preparation for exercise COPE NORTH 2017 (CN17), an annual exercise that serves as a keystone event to promote stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron moved 85.6 short tons in two chalks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Load crew members guide a pallet onto a 60K-loader at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 4, 2017. Roughly 170,000 pounds of cargo made its way to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in preparation for exercise COPE NORTH 17. The annual exercise that serves as a keystone event promoting stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Air Force load crew members guide a pallet onto a 60K-loader at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 4, 2017. Roughly 170,000 pounds of cargo made its way to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of exercise COPE NORTH 2017, the annual exercise that serves as a keystone event promoting stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

Approximately 130 Airmen and multiple F-16 Fighting Falcons departed Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7 and 8, to participate in Exercise COPE NORTH 2017.

CN17 is a multilateral U.S. Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise, originating here in 1978, now conducted annually at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The mission focuses on air combat tactics and large force employment in an effort to enhance interoperability among U.S., Australian and Japanese forces. CN17 is scheduled from Feb. 15 through Mar. 3.

“COPE NORTH gives us the opportunity to enhance U.S. relations with our regional allies and partners by demonstrating our resolve to promote security and stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” said Col. Travis Rex, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander.

CN17 provides the opportunity for tri-lateral field training exercises which improves combat readiness, develops synergistic humanitarian assistance and/or disaster relief operations, and increases interoperability between the U.S., Royal Australian Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, concentrating on coordination of air tactics, techniques, and procedures.

“Having the opportunity to use the Farallon de Medinilla range at Guam affords our pilots critical training on scenarios they don’t encounter here at Draughon Range,” said Maj. John Tolk, 35th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations. “Being able to drop live ordnances as well as shoot the AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile provides our pilots mission critical training, better preparing us for crisis scenarios.”

The exercise features a full spectrum of fighter, bomber, airlift, tanker, rescue and command and control aircraft, including its first integration of the B-1B Lancer into the display of combat airpower.

“The exercise will increase combat readiness among our allied nations using fighter versus fighter air combat tactics and air-to-ground strike mission training over the Farallon de Medinilla range,” explained Rex. “This large force employment training will enhance our air superiority, interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical airlift and aerial refueling capabilities.”