In the fight for air superiority during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, the United States Air Force (USAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) met a major milestone in the airspace off the Queensland coast.
For the first time in the Indo-Pacific region and during a combined exercise, a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, from No. 33 Squadron, successfully conducted an air-to-air refuelling mission with a USAF F-22 Raptor.
Colonel Barley Baldwin, USAF 13 Air Expeditionary Group Commander, said it was a momentous achievement as both forces collectively further capability and assist in the security of the region.
“This successful mission enhances Air Force agility to employ air power in the interest of regional stability and security.”
“Now that we have passed this initial test and first training hurdle, Australia’s KC-30A aircraft is another viable option for extending the power projection capabilities of the F-22 Raptor in the Indo-Pacific region,” Colonel Baldwin said.
Group Captain Stephen Chappell, Talisman Sabre 2019 Amberley Task Unit Commander, agreed with Colonel Baldwin, noting that this was a major achievement for the Australian Defence Force.
“This successful mission enhances Air Force agility to employ air power in the interest of regional stability and security,” Group Captain Chappell said.
“It has been an invaluable opportunity for No. 33 Squadron to train alongside the USAF and the F-22 Raptor, and to access US fighter aircraft fuel receiver expertise.
“Australia looks forward to continued interoperability with the US Air Force and the 90th Fighter Squadron in the future.”