A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit flew from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, March 23, to execute training with the Royal Australian Air Force to increase interoperability with a critical ally and operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region. The U.S. and Australia maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities. The alliance is an anchor for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. Through training engagements like this, we strengthen resiliency, capability and cooperation between U.S. and Australian armed forces.
Once in Australian airspace, the B-2 teamed up with a KC-135 Stratotanker from the Alaska Air National Guard to complete aerial refueling before integrating with eight fighter aircraft — two Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs, two RAAF EA-18 Growlers, two RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and two U.S. Air Force F-16C Aggressors — to conduct training operations. The B-2 then landed at RAAF Amberley — for the first time — and conducted a crew swap before becoming airborne, integrating with F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and returning back to Whiteman AFB.
U.S. Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi, Air Commander Australia, observed the B-2 aircraft on the ground at RAAF Amberley and met with the air and ground crews. “This is the most consequential theater with the most challenging security issues…and advancing our interoperability with critical allies like Australia is critical to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. There are many aspects that are going on daily to continue to move the security relationship forward in a positive way to provide deterrence, prevent war, and maintain peace and stability within the region,” said John C. Aquilino.
While the B-2 crews were teaming up with RAAF counterparts and U.S. teammates in the air, other U.S. Airmen were conducting joint operations on the ground working side-by-side with different RAAF members such as: security forces, fuels, maintenance, and firefighters. Operating anywhere outside of home-station can come with its own set of challenges, which Airmen overcome by working together.Coordination and communication is the key to overcoming any situation and we’re going to be better off in the long run for it. That’s what these missions are for, building relationships with our allies and partners, overcoming challenges and making things better for the future.