“No F-22 or F-35 in COPE TAUFAN 2023 This Time!”
It appears that the 2023 edition of the COPE TAUFAN exercise will not include major U.S. fighter aircraft such as the F-22 "Raptor," F-35, or F-15.
(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) – The COPE TAUFAN 2023 exercise between the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Pacific Air Force (PACAF) of the United States Air Force (USAF) will only feature C-130 transport aircraft and F-16 fighter jets from the American military.
It appears that the 2023 edition of the COPE TAUFAN exercise will not include major U.S. fighter aircraft such as the F-22 “Raptor,” F-35, or F-15.
During the COPE THUNDER 2023 exercise between PACAF and the Philippine Air Force in last July, the United States deployed F-22 “Raptor,” C-130, and A-10 “Warthog” aircraft for the exercise, while the Philippines used its FA-50 fighter aircraft.
According to PACAF’s statement regarding COPE TAUFAN 2023, the C-130 transport aircraft are from the Delaware Air National Guard’s 166th Airlift Wing, New Castle Air National Guard Base, and the F-16 fighter jets are based at the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base in South Korea.
The statement did not specify the exact number of U.S. aircraft involved in the exercise.
PACAF stated that a total of 220 U.S. military personnel will participate in the exercise alongside RMAF personnel and assets, featuring aircrafts such as Su-30MKM, Hawk, F/A-18D, C-130H, A400M aircraft, and EC725 helicopters.
“COPE TAUFAN 2023 will focus on air-to-air exercises and air delivery capabilities, emphasizing real-world flight support operations,” said PACAF.
It noted that the exercise aims to enhance the readiness of Malaysia and the United States while highlighting U.S. military power strategically, with an emphasis on interoperability, security cooperation, and capability building.
PACAF mentioned that it has conducted exercises with RMAF since the 1980s.
It stated that its participation in military exercises with the armed forces of partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region demonstrates the United States’ commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
According to a recent social media statement by RMAF, during the COPE TAUFAN 2023 exercise, RMAF and PACAF assets will conduct tactical flights in designated training areas.
These training areas include airspace in several countries, including Penang and Perak, and involve various categories of aircraft, including fighter jets, transport aircraft, and helicopters.
However, RMAF did not provide further details about the types of assets from RMAF or PACAF involved in COPE TAUFAN 2023.
PACAF is based at Hickam Air Force Base, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, United States.
PACAF is responsible for all U.S. Air Force operations at its nine strategic facilities in the Pacific region, including Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Guam, and South Korea.
Approximately 45,000 U.S. military personnel and civilians serve under PACAF, supported by 340 fighter aircraft and other combat aircraft, not including more than 100 aircraft assigned on a rotational basis to PACAF operations.
Three out of seven F-22 squadrons are under PACAF’s operation.
In the 2014 edition of COPE TAUFAN, the United States deployed F-22 “Raptor” fighter aircraft to face off against RMAF’s Su-30MKM, MiG-29N, and F-18D Hornet fighter jets.
RMAF also reassured the public not to be alarmed or worried if they see RMAF and PACAF assets operating in the training areas during the duration of the exercise. — DSA