Airmen from the U.S. and Malaysian Air Forces marked the successful completion of 12 days of bilateral training and increased mutual cooperation during the Cope Taufan 23 (CT23) closing ceremony at Royal Malaysian Air Force P.U. Butterworth, Sept. 29, 2023. A long-standing bilateral U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)-sponsored Field Training Exercise conducted with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), CT23 focused on enhancing mutual cooperation and building on existing capabilities, aircrew tactics and force employment. This year’s event ran from Sept. 18 – 29 and marked the first iteration of the exercise since COVID-19.
“Our crews both on the ground and in the air challenged themselves to improve their skills, and they have clearly succeeded. These…days of practice and fellowship have improved both our Air Forces, and we are now better prepared for future missions. I am proud of the many accomplishments during this exercise and believe strongly in the importance of our relationship. I look forward to further combined training opportunities in the future and for the many ways that we will continue to work together to ensure a free & open Indo-Pacific,” Brig. Gen. Sarah H. Russ, PACAF mobilization assistant to the director of strategy, plans, programs, and requirements said.
“Both Air Forces were able to collaborate to develop a comprehensive co-agreed operation procedure that will guarantee the safe and efficient conduct of combined air operations. It is essential to perpetually review and update the operation procedure to ensure that it remains relevant and valuable as the operational environment, capabilities, and requirements,” Royal Malaysian Air Force Brig. Gen. Rozainy bin Ahmad Rapiee said.
Primarily a fighter centered exercise, CT23 focused on tactical mobility and provided an excellent opportunity to improve combined readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and Malaysia. It allowed for the exchange of techniques related to air superiority, tactical airlift and airdrop, military police practices, and tactical medical processes. During the closing ceremony, Brig. Gen. Rozainy bin Ahmad Rapiee briefed on this year’s exercise accomplishments, and stated that the exercise demonstrated remarkable dedication to the nations’ partnership. Total participation included more than 70 U.S. military personnel, F-16s from the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, and C-130s from the Delaware Air National Guards’ 166th Airlift Wing, New Castle Air National Guard Base, Delaware, alongside RMAF personnel, SU 30MKM, HAWK, F/A18D, C130H, A400, and EC725.