Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku-Jieitai, JASDF) and US Air Force (USAF) partners conducted an impressive “Elephant Walk” during Cope North 2022 to show off its ability to rapidly generate combat airpower. An elephant walk is a USAF term for the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff, when they are in close formation. Often, it takes place right before a minimum interval takeoff. The benefits of an elephant walk include being able to show the capability of the units as well as teamwork.
The term elephant walk dates to World War II when large fleets of allied bombers would conduct attacks in missions containing 1,000 aircraft. Those who observed this said that the taxiing of these large numbers of aircraft to takeoff in single file in nose-to-tail formations said that they looked like elephants walking to the next watering hole. Over time, it was incorporated into the lexicon of the United States Air Force to identify a “maximum sortie surge”.
U.S Air Forces from Australia, Japan and the US are set to take part in the annual tri-lateral field training exercise, Cope North 2022. The joint exercise will be conducted from 2 to 18 February at Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. More than 2,500 U.S. Airmen, Marines, and Sailors will train alongside 1,000 combined JASDF and RAAF counterparts in Cope North 22. All personnel being deployed for Exercise Cope North 2022 have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and will comply with all directions as required.
Cope North 2022 aims to increase the interoperability of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), US Air Force (USAF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku-Jieitai) by sharing tactics, techniques and procedures for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions. Established in 1978 as a quarterly bilateral exercise held at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Cope North moved to Andersen AFB in 1999. It is the U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ largest multilateral exercise.