Twelve F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, assigned to U.S. Air Force’s 18th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS), took flight from an airfield in Alaska to traverse the Pacific to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to participate exercise Cope North 2020 (CN20), Feb 12-28.
During the exercise, the 18th AGRS, based at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, will employ adversarial tactics to prepare the 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. Air Force (USAF), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF, Koku-Jieitai) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The primary focus of this multilateral U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)-sponsored field training exercise is the coordination of combined air tactics, techniques and procedures and enhancing security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
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.
The F-16 jets assigned to the 18th AGRS are visually differentiable with its Soviet-style blue, black and forest “Flanker”-themes. The squadron is one of two adversary air squadrons of the USAF.