F-2's Arrive For Cope North 2010

F-2's Arrive For Cope North 2010 (Source: USAF)

Cope North, an annual joint exercise held between the USAF, US Navy and ASDF kicked off today at Andersen AFB in Yigo, Guam. The 12-day operation provides the backbone of inter-operable readiness for the defense of Japan.

Speaking at last year’s exercise, Major Marcelo Morales of the Cope North 2010 staff told the Air Force News Agency:

“Conducting joint bilateral flying operations allows us to practice all facets of mission planning and execution. We are able to train to each service’s strength and to discover and overcome any shortfalls. Our maintainers, operators, and support personnel are able to interact face-to-face so that we can enhance our interoperability and learn from our bilateral partners.”

“Exercises such as Cope North demonstrate our firm resolve to the U.S. – Japan alliance and send an unequivocal message that both nations are committed to continued peace and stability in the region.”

One major benefit for the Japanese participants in the past was the chance to practice with live-fire. As Japan lacks any live-fire ranges, the US facilities at Guam gives them a the chance to drop real bombs on physical targets, instead of just working on simulators. It is unclear whether live-fire will be part of this year’s exercise.

According to Stars and Stripes, participants in the exercise include:

From the ASDF:

  • 8th Squadron and 601st Squadron from Misawa Air Base
  • 201st Squadron from Chitose Air Base

From the USAF:

  • 14th Fighter Squadron and 35th Fighter Wing from Misawa Air Base
  • 18th Aggressor Squadron 354th Fighter Wing and 353rd Combat Training Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
  • 36th Airlift Squadron and 374 Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base
  • 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron and 18th Wing from Kadena Air Base
  • 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and the 36th Wing from Andersen Air Base

From the US Navy:

  • Strike Fighter Squadron 115 and Electronic Attack Squadron 136 from Naval Air Facility Atsugi
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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch