Cope Tiger '06 exercise takes flight in Thailand
Aviators from three countries are taking to the skies over Thailand this week and next for an annual exercise designed to hone flying skills and international cooperation among the U.S., Thailand and Singapore militaries.
About 300 U.S. servicemembers and nearly 1,000 more from the two Southeast Asian countries are participating in Cope Tiger ’06, being held at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.
“This year we’ve got a very challenging scenario which will provide an opportunity for Pacific Air Forces’ aircrews to get some very good tactical-level training,” Col. Jeffery LeVault, exercise director for U.S. forces in Cope Tiger, stated in a news release. “That’s what we’re all about at the squadron level. To put bombs on target, control aircraft and to be able to deliver airlift packages.”
This year’s exercise also includes a deployment of A-10s from Osan Air Base, South Korea. The 25th Fighter Squadron pilots will see a firing range different from what they’re accustomed to in South Korea and also will be part of a larger air group than usual, LeVault stated.
C-130s from Yokota Air Base near Tokyo also are part of the overall scenario, he stated.
“The additional benefit to the C-130 crews is that they’re getting some nighttime training and low-altitude practice that they don’t have the opportunity to do in Japan,” he stated. “They need this kind of training to keep their edge.”
Other aircraft involved include KC-135 Stratotankers from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, and E-3B Sentries from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
Cope Tiger, an annual exercise that began in 1994, is scheduled to end Feb. 18.