Hawaii Air National Guard F-22s are in Malaysia participating in Cope Taufan 2014, a bilateral US-Malaysian air exercise that kicked off this week, announced Air Force officials. This marks the first-ever deployment of F-22s to southeast Asia to participate in an exercise, they said. More than 450 airmen are taking part. In addition to the F-22s, Massachusetts Air Guard F-15s are at Cope Taufan, as are C-130s from Yokota AB, Japan, and C-17s from JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. This year’s event, which runs until June 20, is the “largest exercise here to date” said Col. Keith Gibson, expeditionary wing commander for Cope Taufan. US and Malaysian leaders have worked to expand military cooperation in recent years. At last month’s Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with his Malaysian counterpart to discuss those ties.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.