Photo Information

U.S. Navy pilots prepare to take flight in an EA-18G “Growler,” assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132, during Northern Edge 23-1 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 8, 2023. NE 23-1 is a strong example of multilateral cooperation and stands in stark contrast to other examples in the regions, which challenge the international rules-based order through expansive and assertive security actions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rodriguez)

Photo by Airman 1st Class William Rodriguez

Northern Edge Exercise: Strengthening International Cooperation and Combat Readiness

24 May 2023 | Airman 1st Class William Rodriguez U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Northern Edge 23-1 is a multinational training exercise that has brought together the United States Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, the United Kingdom Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The exercise kicked off on May 4, 2023 and focuses on joint, multinational, and multi-domain operations, fostering joint interoperability, and improving the combat readiness of the participating forces.

This biennial exercise serves as a testament to the strong partnership and cooperation between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

“Our most senior leaders have made it clear that to effectively deter our strategic competitors, relationships with our allies and partners will play a central role. Our combined presence is vital to maintaining peace, stability and a free and open region,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. David Piffarerio, NE 23-1 exercise director.
By participating in this exercise, these three nations reaffirm their commitment to provide stability and security to the free and open Indo-Pacific.

“This exercise communicated how committed the U.S. is to our allies and taking advantage of training opportunities like Northern Edge are concrete examples of how strong our alliances truly are,” added Piffarerio.

“The RAF ensures that its frontline units receive the best training available. An exercise of the complexity and scale of Northern Edge, and the advanced training opportunities it provides, is not available anywhere else in the world,” said Royal Air Force Wing Commander, John Eklund. “The fighter squadron and personnel who have participated in the exercise will leave Alaska fighting fit and well equipped to operate with our Allies in future.”

The exercise is renowned for its emphasis on high-end, realistic warfighter training. This exercise provides an unparalleled opportunity for participants to train in a challenging environment that replicates real-world scenarios. The vast training ranges in Alaska offer diverse and expansive airspace, maritime, and land-based operational areas, enabling forces to conduct complex joint missions involving multiple domains.

“The variety and depth of this training ensures we are able to project force, work with partners on operations and strengthen our regional engagement,” said RAAF Component Commander WGCDR Martin Parker.” “By ensuring we have a skilled and intelligent workforce, the Royal Australian Air Force aims to more effectively contribute to a secure and stable Indo-Pacific; and maintain a global rules-based order.”

Northern Edge 23-1 equips participating forces with the skills and experience necessary to confront emerging threats. This comprehensive training allows pilots, ground crews, and support personnel to refine their tactical proficiency, decision-making capabilities, and interoperability skills. By conducting operations in a joint environment, the exercise enhances the ability of air forces to seamlessly integrate with other services and multinational partners, fostering a combined approach to warfare.

“This is the largest and most complex Northern Edge exercise we’ve ever developed. We brought the best tacticians from every service to include the Guard and Reserve as well as our allies from the United Kingdom and Australia,” said Piffarerio.

“Our objectives were to deliver a realistic training environment to the warfighter
and sharpen our interoperability with our joint counterparts and allies, and I can confidently say we hit those objectives.” “I’m extremely proud of the team who came together to successfully plan and execute this exercise.”

Furthermore, in an ever-evolving security environment, maintaining high levels of combat readiness is vital for any military force. The knowledge gained through Northern Edge empowers the air forces to adapt to evolving threats and maintain combat readiness of the participating forces.