NEWS | Aug. 5, 2019

US, Australian Air Forces Conduct First Joint Air Refueling

By U.S. Air Force Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli and Royal Australian Air Force Flying Officer Clarice Hurren U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force Public Affairs

BRISBANE, Australia -- In the fight for air superiority during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, the United States Air Force 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 refueling mission with a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 90th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian “Barley” Baldwin, 13th 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,” continued Baldwin. “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.”

RAAF Group Capt. Stephen Chappell, Task Unit commander for Talisman Sabre 2019, agreed with Baldwin, noting this was a major achievement for the Australian Defence Force.

“It has been an invaluable opportunity for No. 33 Squadron to train alongside the [U.S. Air Force] and the F-22 Raptor, and to access U.S. fighter aircraft fuel receiver expertise,” Chappell said. “Australia looks forward to continued interoperability with the U.S. Air Force and the 90th Fighter Squadron in the future.”