United States Air Force B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers have recently participated in a combined United States-Australia exercise in the Northern Territory.
CAPTION: US Marine Corps Captain Benjamin Hovies and Australian Army Sergeant Aaron Costas direct the flight path of a US Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT. A combined team of US Marines and Australian Defence Forces personnel provided target information to the US Air Force bombers conducting deep strikes on notional targets. US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Harrison Rakhshani.
The B1-B and B-2 aircraft flew from Guam and Diego Garcia respectively, and operated over Delamere, Bradshaw and Mount Bundey training areas during August.
The activity saw the United States aircraft integrate with the Australian Army and US Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, providing a highly advanced training opportunity.
The US aircraft exercised both live and inert munitions on the training areas allowing the Australian and US forces the opportunity to practice their skills in traditional and modern forms of target location, strike confirmation and damage assessment.
While the B1-B and B-2 aircraft did not land in Australia, they were supported by US Air Force air-to-air refuelling aircraft that flew out of RAAF Base Darwin.
The aircrews of the refuelling aircraft were managed under strict Federal and Territory COVID-19 requirements while transiting through Australia.
Australian involvement also included Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters and joint terminal attack controllers from Darwin-based Army units.
US bombers have been visiting Australia since the 1940s.