The Australian government has announced that personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) are participating in training exercises in Guam with their counterparts from the United States and Japan. A number of military aircraft and transports join the 230 soldiers at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base, working alongside vehicles from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
The tri-lateral exercises, known as Exercise Cope North Guam 2013, are meant to enhance aircrews’ tactical skills, as well as provide experience in cooperation. With the exercises lasting until February 15th, this will be the first time some Australian transport equipment will see use outside of the country. But the three countries’ aren’t just working on combat preparations, they are also practicing and developing strategies for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. One RAAF official commented that the mixed operational environment was invaluable for providing lessons from the other nations, as well as putting previous experiences to new use.
Without the chance to conduct joint exercises at Cope North, soldiers would be thrown into an environment of working together for the first time during actual disaster relief efforts. While the twice-yearly Guam event has been held between the USAF and JASDF since 1978, this is only the second time the RAAF has participated. In the event that the three ally forces are deployed in a coalition environment, the strengths and aircrafts of each will be better known to all.[via Australian Department of Defense]