Readiness and continued development of multilateral interoperability remains a key priority for allies and partners participating in Cope Tiger 12, a field training and large force air employment exercise that began here Mar. 12.

During the two-week exercise, more than 1,600 combined service members and civilians from the U.S., Thailand and Republic of Singapore aim to enhance cooperative relationships and improve procedures in airpower.

“This is the 18th time our nations have participated in a single, multinational exercise together,” said Col. Marc Caudill, Cope Tiger U.S. exercise director and wing commander. “Our cooperation will not only ensure regional security and stability, but also provide our aircrews and personnel an opportunity to gain valuable insights and build long last relationships that will benefit all nations in this region.”

The colonel explained that the exercise will enable the U.S., Thailand and Singapore to better respond to a full spectrum of crises, from humanitarian and disaster response, to potential regional security threats.

“We’re all learning how to better operate in a combined and joint environment through robust air operations,” said the colonel. “The U.S. has maintained close relationships with both Thailand and Singapore for many years and Cope Tiger demonstrates resolve and commitment to regional peace and stability by our nations.”

The exercise includes a total of 92 aircraft and 34 air defense units. U.S. aircraft include the C-130 Hercules, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, and F-15 Eagle with units from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson Alaska; Osan Air Base, Korea; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and the Florida Air National Guard.

“What we have here are total force Airmen enabling our three nations’ interest in fostering relationships that are beneficial to regional peace and stability,” said the colonel. “We are elated that this year we can rely on the combat skill and precision of the Florida Air National Guard’s 159th Fighter Squadron to help further our combined capabilities.”

Five major types of training will be conducted during the exercise: dissimilar basic fighting maneuver training, dissimilar air combat tactics training, close air support training, tactical airdrop training, and large force employment training. Forces will also exercise electronic warfare, tactical airlift, search and rescue procedures, mission planning, and in-flight interoperability.

Exercise Cope Tiger aims to reinforce the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, and demonstrates U.S. capabilities to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multilateral environment. The exercise concludes Mar. 23.