In the final days of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 at RAAF Base Amberley, in the fight for air superiority, the US Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force have met a new major milestone.
For the first time in the Indo-Pacific region, an RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft from No. 33 Squadron successfully conducted a US Air Force F-22 Raptor air-to-air refuelling mission.
The Australian Defence Force’s KC-30A is a heavily modified A330 aircraft that can transfer more than 100 tonnes of fuel to Australia’s premier military aircraft.
Colonel Barley Baldwin, USAF 13 Air Expeditionary Group Commander, said this activity was a momentous achievement as both forces collectively further capability and assisting in the security of the region.
“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,” Col Baldwin said.
Group Captain Stephen Chappell, Talisman Sabre Amberley Task Unit Commander, echoed Col Baldwin's comments, noting that this was a major achievement for the ADF.
“This successful mission enhances our ability to employ air power in the interest of regional stability and security,” GPCAPT Chappell said.
“It has been an invaluable opportunity for No. 33 Squadron to train alongside the US Air Force 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.”