Cope Taufan 2016

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, breaks away from formation as the aircraft lines up for landing at Royal Malaysian air force P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia, during Cope Taufan 14, June 16, 2014. Cope Taufan is a biennial large force employment exercise taking place June 9 to 20 designed to improve U.S. and Malaysian combined readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

SHAH ALAM: COPE Taufan 2016 – the biennial exercise between RMAF and USAF – is expected to be held in August this year. Although the exact dates have yet to be officially announced it is expected between mid-July and before the end of August.

In 2014, the exercise was held in mid-June but as June this year is also the time for Ramadan, the exercise dates have been bummed back. As usual the USAF contingent is expected to be based at the Butterworth air base in Penang while the RMAF contingent will take part from their respective bases.

F-22 Raptors from Hawaii National Guard's 19th and 199th Fighter Squadrons are positioned on the flight line at P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia, June 8, 2014. Cope Taufan is designed to improve U.S. and Malaysian combined readiness and inter-operability.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson)
F-22 Raptors from Hawaii National Guard’s 19th and 199th Fighter Squadrons are positioned on the flight line at P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia, June 8, 2014. Cope Taufan is designed to improve U.S. and Malaysian combined readiness and inter-operability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson)

Cope Taufan 2014 was the most publicly known exercise since the Cope Taufan series start in late 90s due to the presence of USAF fabled F-22 Raptors, its first deployment to the region. Six Raptors from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Peal Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, took part in the Large Employment exercise.

Two Royal Malaysian Air Force BAE Hawk and an F-22 Raptor from Hawaii National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron and U.S. Air Forces 19th FS taxis during Cope Taufan 2014, P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia June 11, 2014.  USAF picture
Two Royal Malaysian Air Force BAE Hawk and an F-22 Raptor from Hawaii National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron and U.S. Air Forces 19th FS taxis during Cope Taufan 2014, P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia June 11, 2014. USAF picture

It is not yet officially confirmed whether the Raptors will also be involved in Cope Taufan 2016. Their participation (or not) is expected to be announced as the exercise gets nearer. Anyhow if the Raptors are not deployed, USAF regular participants, the F-15C Eagles will surely be involved. USAF transport aircraft like the C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules are also expected to be in the contingent.

The Star graphic on the Cope Taufan 2014. The Star
The Star graphic on the Cope Taufan 2014. The Star

An excerpt from Dzirhan Mahadzir article on Cope Taufan 2014 featured in the Star. Malaysian Defence own article on the exercise is one of those which went missing after the server crash last year

“The exercise scenario revolved around a hypothetical enemy threatening the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and the South China Sea with the USAF and RMAF aircraft alternating between playing the defenders and attackers.

A close up of the formation below.
A close up of the formation below.

For example, one mission exercise had a force of eight USAF F-15s intercepting two RMAF C-130s and a USAF C-17 which were escorted by four RMAF Su-30MKMs, six USAF F-22s, two RMAF Mig-29s and two RMAF F-18s.

A formation of U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft including an F-15 Eagle from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., an RMAF SU-30MKM Flanker, a USAF F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, an RMAF MIG-29N Fulcrum, an BAE Hawk, and an RMAF F/A-18 Hornet fly over the Penang Bridge in Penang, Malaysia, during Cope Taufan 14, June 18, 2014.
A formation of U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft including an F-15 Eagle from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., an RMAF SU-30MKM Flanker, a USAF F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, an RMAF MIG-29N Fulcrum, an BAE Hawk, and an RMAF F/A-18 Hornet fly over the Penang Bridge in Penang, Malaysia, during Cope Taufan 14, June 18, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

A whole range of other missions were carried out, ranging from resupply drops to downed pilot rescue, night parachuting and a large number of DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) exercises in which the two countries’ fighters conducted mock dogfights against each other in one-on-one and two-on-two scenarios. The smaller RMAF Hawks were used in a two-on-one scenario against one USAF aircraft.

Two Royal Malaysian Air Force F/A-18s, a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 Eagle and a Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptor perform a fly-by after a successful sortie during Cope Taufan, P. U. Butterworth, Malaysia, June 16, 2014.  (U.S. Air Force Photo By Tech Sgt. Andrew L. Jackson / Released)
Two Royal Malaysian Air Force F/A-18s, a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 Eagle and a Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptor perform a fly-by after a successful sortie during Cope Taufan, P. U. Butterworth, Malaysia, June 16, 2014. (U.S. Air Force Photo By Tech Sgt. Andrew L. Jackson / Released)

The DACT results were of great interest globally as many wanted to know how well the RMAF would perform against the F-22 Raptor, but neither side would officially release information on the outcomes, saying it was purely a matter for the two air forces. It is learnt that the RMAF did indeed score some “kills” on the F-22s, including one by a Hawk, but the USAF also racked up its own tally of RMAF planes.”

— Malaysian Defence

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4 Comments

  1. Most people will be focused on the ”kills” but the whole point of the exercise [like practically all bilateral ones] wasn’t about seeing who could get more ”kills” but on improving interoperability and bilateral cooperation; as well as refining skills. During bilateral exercises such as this [especially one involving non treaty partners] the radars will be on training mode or a mode not used in combat. In a real world engagement off course, the Raptors would be linked to an E-3 and there would be jamming. Nonetheless, the experience gained; by both sides, is invaluable.

  2. a Luneberg Lens was installed on the Raptors (on the belly) in order to purposely increase its RCS which deny the friendly radar to estimate the distance where the Raptor begin to be seen on radar.

  3. In the past, it was common for subs to take certain measures to make themselves more ”noisy” during exercises; to enable surface ships to have a better chance of locating them.

    In a real world engagement, the Raptors would be linked to ISR assets and would detect the presence of enemy fighters way before those enemy fighters knew the Raptors were around. Sure, WVR training remains vital but the fact remains that most engagements that have taken place since the 1990’s have been at BVR.

  4. If it really takes 14 aircraft to escort a flight of 3 cargo planes…we’re screwed…that’s almost one third of our forces…

    Reply
    It was a training scenario and it must remembered that they need to train as many people as possible in the shortest time possible. I have no idea how many aircraft they could spare for escort duties in war time

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