Air forces from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Singapore will participate in this year's largest U.S. air combat exercise in the Pacific July 9-24, 1998.
Cope Thunder 98-4 will be held at Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases in Alaska. The exercise will enable air force units to sharpen air combat skills, exchange air operations tactics, and promote closer relations with personnel from each of the participating countries. During the various scenarios, the pilots will fly air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, and combat support mission using a variety of aircraft against a realistic set of threats.
Although the Cope Thunder series is held up to four times each year, the July exercise represents the first time that five countries have converged for a Cope Thunder.
More than 2,500 people will participate, including approximately 1,400 U.S. Service members. Japan will participate on a bilateral basis with the U.S. representatives. In addition to the participants, representatives from Russia, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines will also attend as observers.
The U.S. Pacific Air Forces sponsors the Cope Thunder exercise series. Cope Thunder exercises were first held in 1976 at Clark Air Base, Philippines, but moved in 1992 to Alaska when Mount Pinatubo erupted, forcing curtailment of operations at Clark.