An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Feb. 20, 2020

18th Aggressor Squadron Replicates Threats during Cope North 2020

By Staff Sgt. Curt Beach Cope North 2020 Combined Joint Information Bureau

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Twelve Soviet-style blue, black and forest flanker-themed F-16 Fighting Falcons took flight from a frigid 20-below-zero airfield in the Alaskan frontier to traverse the Pacific to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to unleash havoc during exercise Cope North 2020 (CN20), Feb 12-28.

Operating in the mindset of the enemy, the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, is here to employ adversarial tactics to prepare U.S. and partner-nation aircrews for tomorrow's victories through challenging, realistic threat replication and training.

This year’s iteration of CN20 brings together more than 100 aircraft and 2,100 military personnel from the U.S., Japan and Australian.

“It’s a pleasure to stand here on this strategic rock with our strategic partners - Japan and the United States of America,” said Royal Australian Air Force Group Captain Hinton Tayloe, CN20 exercise director. “Cope North is a collective demonstration of our readiness and resolve to live by our higher principles.”

The primary focus of this multilateral U.S. Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise is the coordination of combined air tactics, techniques and procedures and enhancing security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Each year we get a different team of units coming out here to meet and learn from one another, and this year we’re asked to replicate a more advanced threat,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Travis Worden, 18th AGRS pilot and chief of weapons. “This is going to force much more planning and integration among international partners to find a valid solution. Ultimately, the design being at the end of this exercise, we’ll all be stronger for it.”

The 18th AGRS’ motto is to know, teach and replicate the threat better than any other squadron.

For pilots in training, the Aggressors, or “red air,” can be their worst nightmare. The squadron’s approach has a specific focus: to prepare “blue force” pilots from all participating countries to respond and counter enemy threats through the best and most realistic training possible.

“We are that force to punch blue air in the mouth,” Worden said. “We pride ourselves in doing everything we can in order to capitalize on mistakes our ‘good guys’ are making. The goal being in the long run the United States, Japanese and Australian militaries are stronger for it.”

One of two adversary air squadrons in the U.S. Air Force, the Aggressors pride themselves on learning and studying our countries tactics, so they can realistically replicate what they might see in combat.

“I’m very excited to participate in the complicated, large force employment,” said Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) Capt. Yutaka Aoyama, 305 Squadron F-15 pilot. “We cannot conduct such a large force employment in Japan, so this training will be extremely beneficial. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge.”

Mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships are crucial to strategy, providing a durable,
asymmetric strategic advantage no competitor or rival can match.

“The unique advantage we have in supporting Cope North is that we get to interact with joint partners, specifically the Koku Jieitai and Royal Australian Air Force,” Worden said. “Not very often are we able to interact so closely, and I think just as we are able to teach aspects of our flying to them, we learn the same in return.”

Cope North has integrated air operations for more than 40 years and continues to serve as a keystone event to promote stability and security throughout the Indo-Pacific. The network of alliances and partnerships showcased in the annual exercise remain the backbone of global security.

“The benefits of working with joint and coalition partners in an exercise like this can never be understated,” Worden said. “We bring different nations and allies together to collaborate on a problem set where we often find a solution we never would have come up with on our own, so when we come together, it’s a force multiplier that makes our alliance a more lethal force in any contingency operation in the future.”




July 1, 2024 - III Marine Expeditionary Force received a shipment of Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) at Naha Military Port on June 29, 2024. The ACV is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier, designed to fully upgrade the Marine...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launches
June 30, 2024 - We are aware of the DPRK’s ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners. The United States condemns these actions and calls on the...

3rd MLR concludes Philippine Summer Exercise Series
A U.S. Marine with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, receives a lei from a USO volunteer during a homecoming event at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 26, 2024. The homecoming event was held for the Marines returning from the Philippines following their support in Exercise Balikatan 24 and Marine Aviation Support Activity 24. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Grace Gerlach)
June 28, 2024 - U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, concluded Marine Aviation Support Activity 24, the third of three Philippine-led bilateral exercises with 3rd MLR participation spanning the past three...

RIMPAC 2024 Kicks Off in Hawaii
Vice Adm. John Wade, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 Combined Task Force (CTF) Commander, center, and task force leadership take questions during the opening press conference for RIMPAC 2024 held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 27. Twenty-nine nations, 40 surface ships, three submarines, 14 national land forces, more than 150 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands, June 27 to Aug. 1. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2024 is the 29th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Courtney Strahan)
June 28, 2024 - HONOLULU, Hawaii - The opening ceremony and press conference kicked off the 29th edition of the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the world's largest international maritime exercise, today...

Buddy Squadron 24-4: Increasing interoperability, defending the Pen
U.S. Air Force Capt. Brian Stueckle, 80th Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot, and Airman 1st Class Zakkee Conwell, 80th Fighter Generation Squadron crew chief, give the Juvats 'Crush Em' gesture during Buddy Squadron 24-4 at Cheongju Air Base, Republic of Korea, June 26, 2024. Pilots integrated with ROK Air Force pilots to develop new tactics and techniques to better defend the peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Ross)
June 27, 2024 - Members of the Wolf Pack traveled to Cheongju Air Base, Republic of Korea, to participate in Buddy Squadron 24-4 on June 24, 2024...