Six US Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighters arrived in Malaysia at RMAF Butterworth airbase on 6 June to take part in the bilateral Exercise 'Cope Taufan 2014'.
The participation of the F-22 in its first exercise in a Southeast Asian country follows discussions in 2013. The United States is keen to engage with Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKMs, which in the past carried out air combat exercises with US Navy carrier-based fighters whenever a carrier transited through Malaysian waters.
The six F-22s are a composite detachment from the 19th and 199th fighter squadrons, both from the 154th Fighter Wing based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and arrived from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. They will be joined by Boeing F-15Cs of the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
Both types will engage in air-to-air combat exercises with the RMAF's Su-30MKMs of No 11 Squadron, Mikoyan MiG-29s of No 17 Squadron, Boeing F/A-18Ds of No 18 Squadron and BAE Systems Hawks of No 6 and 15 squadrons. The latter scenario would involve two Hawks against one USAF fighter.
'Cope Taufan 2014' will also include a number of logistics exercises involving USAF transport squadrons: C-130s of 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan, and C-17s from the 517th Airlift Squadron, 3rd Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and 535th Airlift Squadron, 15th Wing and 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Wing, both of which are based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The RMAF will be represented by C-130s from No 20 Squadron.
'Cope Taufan 2014' takes place from 9 to 20 June with USAF units staging out of RMAF Butterworth for the fighter units and RMAF Subang and RMAF Kuantan for the USAF transport and special operations units. The exercise has also folded in the 'Teak Mint' exercise conducted with RMAF and USAF special operations units and the 'Balance Mint' exercise between USAF special operations and the Malaysian Army Gerakhas Special Forces.