A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit from 509th Bomb Wing dropped in this week, along with the Commander of US military forces in the Indo-Pacific, Admiral Chris Aquilino.
CAPTION: United States Air Force Senior Airman Reginald Dormeville from 509th Security Forces Squadron (left) and Royal Australian Air Force Aircraftman James Lunney from No. 2 Security Squadron in front of a United States Air Force B-2 Spirit from the 13th Bomb Squadron, at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Schwenke.
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.
Admiral Aquilino’s visit to Australia was an opportunity for him to view US Air Force capability as part of enhanced US force posture initiatives, and to see our forces working together.
He has also participated in a welcome ceremony for this year’s Marine Rotational Force – Darwin at Robertson Barracks, attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, and met with senior ADF personnel.
Admiral Aquilino 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,” Aquilino said.
“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.”
CAPTION: A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit from 509th Bomb Wing makes its final approach to RAAF Base Amberley. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Schwenke
Aquilino said through training engagements like this, we strengthen resiliency, capability and cooperation between U.S. and Australian armed forces.
Iervasi echoed the importance of the training and increased interoperability.
“This is our most important relationship that we have in the Indo-Pacific region,” Iervasi said.
“We have enduring bonds extending back for decades and we share common values and interests and we will continue to collaborate and keep this partnership strong.”
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Conant, 393rd Bomb Squadron commander, led the U.S. effort on the ground and said it was missions like these that are how we exercise our global strike capabilities.
“It’s our job to get out and support our combatant commanders and we’re always excited to be in the Indo-Pacific,” Conant said.
“The main pillar of the National Defense Strategy is building relationships with our allies and partners because warfighting is a team sport, and our network of alliances and partnerships remains the backbone of global security.”
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,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Aaron Porter, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels superintendent.
“That’s what these missions are for, building relationships with our allies and partners, overcoming challenges and making things better for the future.”