Military News

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cope Tiger 15 takes off

by Capt. George Tobias
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

3/13/2015 - KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thailand -  -- The roar of jets filled the sky March 9 over central Thailand during Exercise Cope Tiger 15.

With a focus on multinational interoperability and regional partnerships, aviation and ground units from the United States, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Singapore are participating in the annual multilateral aerial exercise.

Cope Tiger 15 is 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.

Using a sports analogy to describe the training, U.S. Air Force Exercise Director Col. Paul Johnson said, "You do not walk out to a game without practicing. You have to practice a lot, and that is essentially what we are doing here."

Johnson explained with exercises like Cope Tiger, which allows the three air forces to practice together and understand how they work, it allows the air forces, when called upon, to handle operations like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to hit the ground running and "operate very efficiently and very quickly."

As the first U.S. multilateral air exercise in Southeast Asia, the annual Cope Tiger exercise demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the theater and to addressing regional security challenges and ensuring freedom of the seas through multilateral collaboration.

"The U.S. and Thailand have a long relationship," said Royal Thai air force Exercise Director Group Captain Chanon Mungthanya.

He further stressed the importance of the realistic multilateral training of Cope Tiger, so "we understand what we have, what the U.S. has and what the Republic of Singapore has," when called upon for real world operations or to provide HA/DR support."  

Approximately 390 U.S. personnel are participating in the exercise, with approximately 1,000 service members from Thailand and Singapore. The multilateral exercise involves a combined total of 84 aircraft and 38 air defense assets from the three contributing countries.

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