The Air Force is dispatching a B-52 bomber and KC-135 tanker this week from Andersen AFB, Guam, to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin in northern Australia for short-term joint training, announced Pacific Air Forces officials on Aug. 22. This visit marks the first such exchange since the United States and Australia unveiled the US-Australia force posture initiative in November 2011, they said. “This event demonstrates our commitment to increased cooperation with our longstanding Australian allies,” said Maj. Gen. Russell Handy, PACAF’s director of operations, plans, requirements, and programs. He added, “This and future rotational deployments will enhance our bilateral collaboration and offer greater opportunities to improve our ability to train, exercise, and operate together now and in the future.” While at Darwin, the B-52 will conduct simulated ordnance drops over Australia’s Delamere Training Range and the KC-135 will practice aerial refueling operations, said the officials. Decisions on future rotations to Darwin and RAAF Tindal are still under discussion, they said. (See also PACOM Boss Visits Australia.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.