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KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Pilots, airmen and security forces from the 8th Fighter Wing are wrapping up a two-week deployment to Malaysia for an annual air combat tactics exercise that offers a rare chance to fly against MiG-29s, officials said Friday.

About 80 “Wolf Pack” members from the 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 8th Maintenance Squadron, 8th Security Forces Squadron, 8th Operations Support Squadron and 8th Civil Engineer Squadron have been participating in Cope Taufan since Oct. 11, according to a Pacific Air Forces news release.

The exercise, held by the Royal Malaysia Air Force and the U.S. Air Force each year for the past decade, is to wrap up Thursday.

“The MiG-29 is one of the most capable adversary aircraft in the world today,” Lt. Col. Kevin Schneider, 80th Fighter Squadron commander, said in the release. “This opportunity is unique since very few countries friendly to the United States possess these jets.”

And while the focus is on the flight training, much of the pre-exercise effort went into force protection measures around Kuantan Air Base, where the training is taking place.

Malaysia long has faced security problems in its southern islands; the United States has an advisory warning citizens against traveling to the area.

“The whole thrust of this effort is to get the pilots fully prepared to hit the ground running,” Maj. Jeffrey Lee said in the release. “They will show up in country ready to train, familiar with local area procedures, knowledgeable about their adversaries and aware of their surroundings from a force protection standpoint.”

Now the focus is on training the F-16 pilots to fly against the MiGs.

“Only Col. Schneider and myself have ever squared off with real MiGs before,” said Lee, 80th Fighter Squadron assistant operations director. “Realizing that, in training, we simulate flying against MiGs all the time. But that only does so much good. What this opportunity will yield is a chance for 10 pilots to hone their skills.”

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