JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Approximately 780 Airmen and 30 aircraft from U.S. Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve units across 7 states trained alongside airmen from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 42 Wing during exercise Sentry Aloha 18-2 as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) initiative here April 4-18.
The EAC initiative, which commenced in 2017, fosters greater integration between U.S. Department of Defense air elements and the Australian Defence Force to enhance interoperability across the full spectrum of operations.
The participation of the RAAF E-7A Wedgetail at Sentry Aloha 18-2 is the third EAC event of 2018. The first EAC event, held in February at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in February, tested and improved the aeromedical evacuation capabilities shared by the two air forces. The second, held at RAAF Base Darwin, Australia, April 2-17, integrated the B-52H Stratofortress, Australian F/A-18 Hornets and PC-9 trainer aircraft, and Australian Army for a close air support training exercise.
“At Sentry Aloha 18-2, we are incorporating our 5th generation capabilities, the F-22 Raptor and the Royal Australian Air Force E-7 Wedgetail, to continue working on our interoperability,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Russell L. Mack, Pacific Air Forces deputy commander. “This gives not only us but also our allies and partners in the region an opportunity to work with 5th generation aircraft.”
Sentry Aloha is an ongoing series of exercises hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing. It provides tailored, cost effective and realistic training for the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and regional allies and partners
“The E-7A Wedgetail is operating in a command and control function for the [Sentry Aloha 18-2] exercise,” said RAAF Squadron Leader Samuel Thorpe, 2nd Squadron executive officer. “We are supporting 5th generation capabilities and integrating with the legacy 4th generation platforms in offensive and defensive counter air operations.”
Australia is a key contributor to global security; and plays a leading role in regional security, capacity-building efforts and disaster response throughout the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. and Australia can trace their military cooperation back to battlefields of World War I. This year marks the 100th year of “Mateship”.
“[Sentry Aloha 18-2] is a living, breathing example of our collaboration, and that collaboration has been 100 years in the making,” said Australian Consulate General, Ambassador Jane Hardy. “It is the core to our security and to our joint efforts [in the Indo-Pacific region] and around the world.”