PAF: 2nd edition of 2024 'Cope Thunder' drills set June 17-28

By Priam Nepomuceno

May 23, 2024, 10:02 am

MANILA – The second iteration of this year's "Cope Thunder" air exercises will run from June 17 to 28.

In a briefing Wednesday afternoon, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson, Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, said the activity between the PAF and the US Air Force is a follow-up to the drills' first edition that took place from April 8 to 19.

"We have our upcoming bilateral activity with the United States Air Force which is "Cope Thunder Two' which is the second iteration of this exercise. Focus on this exercise is (training for) large force deployment," Castillo said in a media briefing.

Large force deployment refers to the sending off large numbers of Air Force personnel and aircraft and related equipment to faraway areas.

The PAF spokesperson said this training is part of the PAF's preparations for its first-ever participation in the Royal Australian Air Force "Pitch Black" exercise with actual Filipino aircraft taking part.

The "Pitch Black" exercise, set from July 12 to Aug. 2 this year, involves personnel and aircraft from more than a dozen nations. The Australian air exercise is a biennial event and often takes place in Australia's Northern Territory.

"So remember (the) 'Pitch Black' exercise will be the first ever multi-lateral exercise the PAF will be participating in with our aircraft, the FA-50 aircraft," Castillo said.

An estimated five PAF FA-50s are expected to take part in this multilateral exercise, she added. (PNA)