COPE NORTH 2017 set to strengthen multilateral partnerships in Pacific

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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.”