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Exercise under way in Thailand

KORAT AIR BASE, Thailand (AFPN) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon prepares for refueling by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, during Cope Tiger 2003. Cope Tiger is an annual joint/combined air-to-air, air-to-ground and large force employment training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

KORAT AIR BASE, Thailand (AFPN) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon prepares for refueling by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, during Cope Tiger 2003. Cope Tiger is an annual joint/combined air-to-air, air-to-ground and large force employment training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

KORAT AIR BASE, Thailand (AFPN) -- More than 400 U.S. airmen and Marines and 600 servicemembers from Thailand and Singapore are flying air-to-air and air-to-ground missions as part of the annual multi-lateral exercise Cope Tiger 2003.

The two-week exercise flown from here gives servicemembers from eight different U.S. bases and the two countries an opportunity to hone their deployment and employment skills and improve air-combat techniques while building stronger relationships.

The forces are testing their combat skills as red forces (the bad guys) or blue forces (the good guys) in realistic combat scenarios.

Flying skills to be tested include basic fighter maneuvers and air combat tactics against different types of aircraft, close air support and large force employment training. Forces will also exercise airborne and land-based control of mission packages and combat search and rescue.

At the height of the exercise, 60 aircraft from the three countries will battle it out in the Thailand sky.

U.S. forces include: Air Force F-15 Eagles from the 12th Fighter Squadron and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control Systems from the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; E-3s from the 961st AACS, Kadena AB, Japan; Marine EA6-B Prowlers from the Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3 and F/A-18 Hornets from the Fighter Attack Squadron 212th Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan; and KC-130s from the Marine Aerial Refueling Squadron 152nd Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma, Japan.

Respected in Thailand for its strength and skill as a hunter, the tiger was chosen as a symbol of the exercise, which was first held in 1994. Cope Tiger is directed by a command staff from 13th Air Force at Andersen AFB, Guam, and representatives from Singapore and Thailand. (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces News Services)

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