MANILA — The air forces of the Philippines and the United States will revive the Cope Thunder joint exercise over 30 years after it was stopped in 1991, the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs said.
In a statement, the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs said the exercise was scheduled at the Clark Air Force Base from May 1 to 12.
“Cope Thunder Philippines is designed to provide bilateral fighter training with the Philippine Air Force and improve combined interoperability,” it said.
The opening of the Cope Thunder exercise will include primary flight operations over Clark Air Force Base.
Around 160 US Air Force members are expected to fly, maintain and support some 12 aircraft from the 35 Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan units during the exercise.
Asked for more details on the exercise, AFP chief of staff General Andres Centino said this was yet to be discussed with their US counterparts.
“That could be discussed. Matagal na iyon, but we’re not definite with that yet,” he told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.
Cope Thunder began in the Philippines in 1976.
It was moved to the Eielson Air Force Base in 1992, a year after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo curtailed its operations. The Philippine Senate then also voted against extending the lease on US military facilities in the country.
The exercise was eventually renamed Red Flag Alaska.
“This is the first iteration of Cope Thunder in the Philippines since 1990. It provides a unique opportunity to integrate forces and improve interoperability between the Philippines and the United States,” the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs said in a statement.