A B-2 bomber flew from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to Australia and back over the course of more than 50 hours recently, integrating with five different fighter aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force along the way.
The B-2 Spirit from the 509th Bomb Wing became on March 23 the first such bomber to land at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, Pacific Air Forces announced in a press release.
While in Australian airspace, the B-2 refueled from a KC-135 tanker from the Alaska Air National Guard, then integrated with American F-16Cs and Australian F-35s, EA-18 Growlers, and F/A-18F Super Hornets as part of training operations.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command boss Adm. John C. Aquilino and Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi were on hand to observe the B-2 on the ground after it landed. After a crew change, the bomber took off again, integrating with American F-22s from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, before returning home to Whiteman.
“This is the most consequential theater with the most challenging security issues, … and advancing our interoperability with critical allies like Australia is critical to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Aquilino said in a statement. “There are many aspects that are going on daily to continue to move the security relationship forward in a positive way to provide deterrence, prevent war, and maintain peace and stability within the region.”
In a Facebook post, Whiteman officials said the B-2 was assigned to the 393rd Bomb Squadron and that the mission lasted a total of 53 hours.
B-2s have flown training missions over Australia several times over the past few years. In 2020, Whiteman B-2s deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia and then flew over Australian training areas while Marines and Australian troops trained together to control the strikes. In 2016, a B-2 from Whiteman landed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal.