As reported by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs in the article Raptors arrive at RAAF Base Tindal for Enhanced Air Cooperation Initiative, the last wave of U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptors from the 90th Fighter Squadron (FS) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska, arrived at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal, Feb. 14 to launch bilateral exercise and training missions with the RAAF and further strengthen the military relationship the two nations share.
The F-22s, 12 in total, deployed to RAAF Base Tindal under the direction of U.S. Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris, the U.S. Pacific Command commander, as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation Initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia.
“We are thrilled to be here and working with our Australian counterparts,” said Lt. Col. Dave Skalicky, the 90th FS commander. “They have been phenomenal hosts, and their level of support allows us to increase our combined capabilities.”
As we have anticipated last week, this combined training activity marks the most extensive F-22 joint training with Australia in duration and scale, providing the Raptors the opportunity to conduct integrated air operations training with the RAAF’s 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornets.
“We constantly look forward to training operating with our U.S. counterparts, in particular, with fifth-generation squadrons such as the 90th FS,” said Wing Commander Mick Grant, the 75 Squadron commander. “Usually we only integrate with the F-22s at major exercises in the U.S. such as Red Flag or during coalition operations, so we appreciate the efforts of the 90th FS having traveled a significant distance to Australia to join us in our backyard this year. Northern Australia’s extreme climate and distinctive training areas provide our ally unique opportunities to train with their fifth-generation aircraft in a range of environmental conditions.”
The F-22s and F/A-18A/Bs will conduct offensive and defensive training missions at various locations in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Skalicky explained the history of the 90th FS and how it can trace it’s lineage back to World War II when the then U.S. Army Air Forces 90th Bombardment Squadron conducted missions out of the area against the Japanese in various battles throughout the Pacific.
“We were here 75 years ago, and to be back carrying on the tradition is an honor,” Skalicky said.
The F-22s are scheduled to be in Australia through the beginning of March.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez / U.S. Air Force
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