B1-B Lancers coming to Amberley

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RAAF Base Amberley will host up to two United States Air Force B-1B Lancers as part of the United States-Australia Force Posture Initiatives.

FILE PHOTOAir-to-air refuelling trials between an Australian KC-30A and United States B-1B Lancer. USAF photo by Christian Turner.

USAF B-1B Lancers are long-range, multi-mission, supersonic bomber aircraft and will be taking part in a training exercise with the Royal Australian Air Force during the last week in November and the first week of December this year.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the training would enable RAAF aircrew to meet flying qualifications [which they would have done regardless] and give them an opportunity to exercise with one of the world’s most technologically advanced armed forces [which they do several times a year anyway].

“This training exercise is part of the United States-Australia Force Posture Initiatives Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) program, which builds on a range of air exercises and training activities already undertaken between the United States and Australia,” Minister Payne said.

“The EAC program is a practical demonstration of Australia’s support for a strong and engaged US presence in the region.”

EAC activities involve short-term rotations of US aircraft through Australia for up to two months at a time.

The first activity under the EAC umbrella commenced in February 2017 at RAAF Base Tindal with 12 USAF F-22 Raptors conducting combined training with RAAF F/A-18 Hornets.

Minister Payne said EAC activities would strengthen bilateral collaboration and interoperability between USAF and the RAAF, so that both Air Forces can operate together seamlessly.

This activity will be the fifth and final EAC activity for 2017.

The exercise will involve USAF B-1Bs and RAAF aircraft conducting flying training in designated airspace out of RAAF Base Amberley.

US strategic bombers have visited Australia since the 1940s, with the first B-1B Lancer arriving in 1995 and has been a CONTACT favourite at Avalon Airshow.

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Brian Hartigan

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