Exercise Cope Tiger, a trilateral air exercise conducted by Singapore, Thailand and the United States (US), came to a close today at Korat Air Force Base, Thailand. The closing ceremony was officiated by Singapore's Chief of Air Force, Major-General Meryvn Tan; Chief of the Air Staff of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), Air Chief Marshal Surasak Toongtong; and Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, Major General James O. Eifert.
The exercise, the 23rd in its series, was conducted in two phases. The first phase was a command post exercise, held at the Multinational Operations and Exercise Centre in Changi Naval Base, Singapore, from 6 to 9 December 2016, while the second phase was a flying training exercise conducted at Korat Air Force Base, Thailand, from 20 to 30 March 2017.
This year's exercise involved 70 aircraft, 43 ground-based air defence systems and about 2,000 personnel from the participating nations. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s participation comprised 22 aircraft (5 x F-15SG, 6 x F-16C/D, 6 x F-16D+, 1 x G550-AEW, 1 x KC-135R and 3 x Heron-1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs)), 8 GBAD systems and approximately 800 personnel. The RSAF's Heron 1 UAV also participated in the inaugural RTAF-RSAF Combined UAV Training with the RTAF Aerostar UAV.
The RSAF Exercise Director for Exercise Cope Tiger 2017, Colonel Chan Ching Hao, shared the significance of the annual large-scale trilateral air exercise. He said, "We value the excellent opportunity that Exercise Cope Tiger provides for us to train alongside our counterparts from Thailand and the US. This large-scale exercise allows us to hone our combat readiness and operational capabilities in air defence, strike and UAV operations. The successful conduct of the exercise has further enhanced our interoperability, and bears testament to the strong defence relationship shared between the three participating countries."
The exercise participants also took part in a two-day joint socio-civic programme, where they provided basic health and dental services to the local community in the vicinity of Korat Air Force Base and Chandy Range.
Conducted annually since 1994, Exercise Cope Tiger seeks to enhance professionalism and interoperability among the participating forces, and promote closer rapport and mutual understanding among their personnel.