The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will deploy aircraft and personnel to Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, to conduct Exercise Cope North 22 with the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku-Jieitai) from 2 to 18 February, 2022. The trilateral exercise is focused on increased interoperability of the RAAF, USAF and Koku-Jieitai, through combined tactics, techniques and procedures for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and Large Force Employment.
The RAAF Task Unit Commander, Group Captain Andrew McHugh, said Cope North 22 will be an excellent opportunity to further enhance interoperability between the trilateral forces. “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,” McHugh said. “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.”
The RAAF will deploy the E-7A Wedgetail, C-27J Spartan, KC-30A multi role tanker transport and F-35A Lightning II, alongside a contingency response squadron focused on HADR training. “Cope North 22 will enhance the trilateral 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 the Japan, and ensure our people can deliver air power when required.”
Exercises remain critical to preparedness of the Australian Defence Force. RAAF personnel deploying for Exercise Cope North 22 have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to their departure and will comply with all directions as required.