Military News

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cope Tiger 15 ends

by Capt. George Tobias
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

3/25/2015 - KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thailand -- The skies over central Thailand are a little quieter now that Exercise Cope Tiger 15 has ended.

The exercise, which ran from March 9 through 20, focused on multinational interoperability and regional partnerships.

Aviation and ground units from the United States, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Singapore participated in the annual multilateral aerial exercise.

Cope Tiger 15 was aimed at increasing readiness, cooperation and interoperability among security forces, contributing to maritime security, counterterrorism, search and rescue and humanitarian disaster relief efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking on the importance of the exercise, U.S. Air Force Exercise Director Col. Paul Johnson said, without exercises like Cope Tiger, going into an "operation or humanitarian assistance event you will have to hit the ground at a very slow crawl."

By training together, this allows the three air forces to "hit the ground running," Johnson continued.

"We value the opportunity to train alongside our counterparts from Thailand and the United States in the exercise," Said Republic of Singapore air force Col. Kevin Goh, Singaporean exercise director. "The successful conduct of the exercise is testament to our strong defense relationship and interoperability between the three participating countries."

While F-15s and E-3s from Kadena Air Base, Japan, were training with their Thai and Singaporean counterparts in Korat, C-130s from Yokota Air Base, Japan, and two C-17s from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, were training at Udon Thani, Thailand.

"[These aircraft] have been integral to the [live fire exercises]," Johnson said. "They have been integrated into the planning; they have been conducting airdrops and high altitude parachute operations as well.

"Even outside of the LFEs, they have been flying at night getting good [night vision goggle] training out there and all of this is being done with our Thai and Singaporean counterparts," Johnson continued.  "I know for a fact we had our C-130s and our C-17s dropping Thai parachutists out the back of their aircraft and onto [drop zones] that are both close to here and up at Udon Thani."

Approximately 390 U.S. personnel participated in Cope Tiger 2015, with approximately 1,000 service members from Thailand and Singapore. The multilateral exercise involved a combined total of 84 aircraft and 38 air defense assets from the three contributing countries. Participating U.S. Air Force units included Pacific Air Forces Headquarters from JBPHH, the 44th Fighter Squadron and the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron from Kadena, the 517th Airlift Squadron from JBER, the 36th Airlift Squadron from Yokota and the 535th Airlift Squadron from JBPHH.

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