Joint US, PH air force drills kicks off

Joint US, PH air force drills kicks off

/ 10:15 PM April 08, 2024

Aircraft to be utilized in the first leg of Cope Thunder displayed at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga. PHOTO FROM THE PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE

MANILA, Philippines —  The war games between the air forces of the Philippines and the United States officially began on Monday.

The first iteration of Cope Thunder 2024 officially commenced at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga.


Joined by 700 airmen, the drills will see the usage of FA-50PH fighter jets, as well as US Air Force’s F-16, a supersonic multirole fighter; and military transport aircraft C-130J.


READ: After ‘Balikatan’ comes ‘Cope Thunder’ revival

Initial leg

The initial leg of bilateral drills will focus on subject matter expert exchanges and field exercises in air and ground operations, as well as logistics and other mission support planning and execution.

The first iteration of the drills will last until April 19.

This year’s Cope Thunder is tentatively scheduled to have a second iteration in June.

Cope Thunder started in the Philippines in 1976 and went on until 1990.

The exercises were discontinued after the US military left Clark Field and Subic Bay in 1991 due to damage from the Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in June that year and also after the Philippine Senate voted against extending the lease on US military facilities in the country.


The first iteration of Cope Thunder since the 1990s was held in 2023.

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TAGS: air force drills, Cope Thunder 2024, war games

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