Combat Generation Exercise reinforces trilateral partnerships among U.S., Japanese, Australian Allies

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Patrick Boyle
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 35th Fighter Wing conducted the first ever trilateral Combat Ammunition Production Exercise (CAPEX) with munitions specialists from the Pacific Air Forces, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 6 to 9 May, 2024.

U.S., Australian and Japanese service members exchanged mission knowledge and operated around the clock to build and generate approximately 1,100 munitions within 80 hours. During the exercise, participants focused on building munitions on a large scale, in both deployed and home station environments.

CAPEX heavily emphasizes readiness, ensuring that Airmen and partners possess the knowledge, skills and experience to rapidly build, transport and deploy bombs in the event of wartime operations. 

This exercise, in particular, is extremely important as we establish and deepen our interoperability with our partners. Working closely with our partners during exercises like CAPEX increases the security of the Indo-Pacific region.
said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Szekeres, CAPEX 2024 lead evaluator

International cooperation not only strengthens interoperability but also allows participants to learn from one another and build camaraderie. Through the four day exercise, U.S. Airmen had the opportunity to see how the JASDF and RAAF approach bomb building and pick up tips and tricks from them, enhancing their skills and knowledge.

The exercise focused on building Guided Bomb Units (GBUs) and other munitions en masse highlighted the critical role of munitions specialists in producing sustained combat air power in any scenario.

“Participants will walk away with more bomb-building skills and ACE concepts, or the ability to build on the fly with little to no equipment or support,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Davila, Conventional Maintenance Crew Chief. “Our biggest challenge is when we go out to bare bones bases and work with what we have, making quick adjustments to get the job done.”

CAPEX not only proves that the 35th FW is ready and capable of engaging in large-scale munitions production, but also working alongside the JASDF and RAAF demonstrates that the U.S. Air Force is not alone in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“The skills we’re working on here at CAPEX with PACAF and JASDF personnel are going to help us in working together in an alliance and help keep a rules-based order,” said Royal Australian Air Force Warrant Officer Timothy Duke, armament technician and detachment commander. “For Australia, in our area of the Pacific south of the Equator, that's very important to us. We’re here to learn how to support our allies in an alliance and hopefully, we can continue to do that.”

Through exercises like CAPEX, the 35th FW embodies the importance of readiness and international cooperation, demonstrating that Airmen are not only prepared for various contingencies, but also are capable of working alongside partner nations in combat operations anytime and anywhere.