Cope North bilateral exercise wraps up in Guam
by Senior Airman Nestor Cruz
36th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The exercise, which ended July 21, was designed to enhance U.S. and Japanese air operations by training in air combat tactics, electronic combat and airborne air control. Cope North began in 1978 and is the longest running exercise series in the Pacific theater.
Japanese aircraft included 10 F-4EJ Kais and two E-2C Hawkeyes from Misawa Air Base, Japan. They were joined by 12 U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. U.S. and Japanese aircrews tested their flying skills by engaging in mock combat.
“Our first objective was to drop bombs safely and successfully,” said Japanese Lt. Gen. Osamu Arano, northern air defense force commander. “The second objective was to simulate air combat and conduct our training in a safe manner. I firmly believe this exercise has contributed to the strong relationship between Japanese and U.S. forces.
“Japanese airspace is very limited,” he said. “The training environment here, including the size, is very beneficial, allowing us to perform at the aircraft’s best.”
This year’s Cope North exercise gave the Japanese force its first opportunity to use live bombs on ground targets, said Brig. Gen. Bradley S. Baker, 5th Air Force vice commander.
“Our overall objective was to strengthen the alliance between Japanese and U.S. forces,” General Baker said. “The (Japanese forces) share in the war on terrorism, and we have a solid, strong ally with (them).”
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