June, 23

    US and Philippines strengthen military ties in Cope Thunder exercise

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    Cope Thunder 23-2, a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise, will take place from July 2 to 21. The exercise will focus on expeditionary operations and will include approximately 225 service members from the United States and the Philippines. The exercise will be held at Clark Air Base, Mactan Air Base, and other airfields around the Philippines.

    Cope Thunder is a bilateral exercise that aims to improve the interoperability of the United States and the Philippines through fighter training. The exercise will allow the two countries to swap tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    Cope Thunder was first held in 1976 in the Philippines. However, in 1992, it was moved to Eielson Air Force Base and overtime renamed Red Flag Alaska. This will mark the first time Cope Thunder has been held in the Philippines since 1990.

    The exercise is a valuable opportunity for the United States and the Philippines to improve their military cooperation and exchange helpful tactics and will feature C-130 Hercules, A-10 Warthogs, and F-22 Raptors, taken from multiple participating units for the exercise.

    The aircraft on display include, but are not limited to those, and showcased a Philippine Air Force FA-50 performing a touch-and-go on July 5. On the same day, a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the Hawaiian Raptors Squadron, which is made up of the 19th and 199th Fighter Squadrons, landed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines to participate in exercise Cope Thunder 23-2.

    The overall goal of this exercise is to heighten our countries’ shared interests and strengthen the two nation’s military bonds. By working together and providing well-trained and equipped troops, the nation dissuades aggressors by demonstrating the military’s commitment to working together to ensure regional stability.

    Georgina DiNardo is an editorial fellow for Military Times and Defense News and a recent graduate of American University, specializing in journalism, psychology, and photography in Washington, D.C.

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