A contingent of 18 F-15s, two E-3 AWACS, and two KC-135s departed Kadena AB, Japan this week, forward deploying to Andersen AFB, Guam. The three-week aviation training relocation is part of the Pacific Air Forces’ bilateral Cope North air defense exercise with the Japan Air Self Defense Force, reports Guam’s Pacific News Center. This ATR to Guam is a first for Kadena’s combined fighters, tankers, and AWACS. It will “enhance our combined capability to provide for the defense of Japan,” said Col. David Nahom, 18th Operations Group commander and ATR boss. He added that the deployment “will allow us to practice operations as a deployed unit” without the noise limitations near Kadena. Roughly 500 Kadena aircrew, maintainers, and support personnel deployed to Guam for this air-to-air training with the Japanese, which runs through Feb. 27. (Kadena release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.