ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --- "Hands-on" took on real meaning for members of the Japan Air Self Defense Force as F-2 support fighter pilots dropped the first live weapons from the fighter here June 13 as part of Exercise Cope North.
As there is no live range in Japan, the F-2 pilots used this opportunity to practice with live weapons at the Farralon de Medinilla range, 160 nautical miles northeast of Andersen.
"This is the first deployment of the F-2, and also ... it will be the first delivery of weapons from the F-2, which is a big deal, it's only the third delivery of live weapons in the last sixty years," said Col. Michael MacWilliam, U.S. Director for Cope North.
Cope North is focused on the security and defense of Japan through air operations. The pilots fly sorties in what are called "defensive Japan scenarios," which help prepare U.S. and JASDF pilots should they ever be called on to protect Japan.
228 JASDF personnel from Misawa Air Base and Fuchu Air Station, Japan, are taking part in the Cope North, which will run until June 22. Eight of these aircraft along with 150 personnel deployed from Misawa Air Base, Japan, to take part in the exercise. They are scheduled to complete 124 of the 346 anticipated sorties.
The Mitsubishi F-2 is the result of a joint Japan and U.S. development program which began in 1987 as a way to replace the Mitsubishi F-1.