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    US, Japan, Australia Forces Practice Air Combat in Western Pacific COPE Drill

    Courtesy of US Pacific Air Forces
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Air forces from the United States, Japan and Australia concluded the annual COPE North exercise with an air combat demonstration of an allied response to plane downed by a hostile power, the US Indo-Pacific Command announced in a press release.

    "The exercise scenario for the final week of COPE North 2019 evolved from a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation to combat air operations after an aggressive nation downed a friendly aircraft," the release said on Friday. "This brought about a combined effort from three nations and an opportunity to integrate and project air superiority to deter further aggression and when necessary, defeat the aggressors."

    Some 3,000 airmen, nearly 100 aircraft, 20 different units from three nations, the United States, Australia and Japan participated in the exercise that ended on Friday, the release said.

    "When you look at the combat capabilities that are exercised for this event, air superiority, air interdiction, electronic warfare, tactical airlift, air refuelling — all of these are critical capabilities to all of our nations to be able to deter conflict, and in the event that deterrence fails, these are war-winning capabilities," US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider said in the release.

    READ MORE: India to Purchase 21 Russian MiG-29 Jets to Improve Air Combat Strength — Report

    The exercise featured nearly 900 sorties, with the three nations projecting combat air dominance over an area of roughly five square miles, according to the release.


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