US F-22, Australian tanker hold historic air-to-air refueling

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In the fight for air superiority during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, the United States Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force 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 refuelling mission with a USAF F-22 Raptor.

Colonel Barley Baldwin, the commander of USAF’s 13 Air Expeditionary Group, said it was a momentous achievement for both air forces.

“Now that we have passed this initial test and first training hurdle, we have another viable option for extending the power projection capabilities of the F-22 in the Indo-Pacific,” Colonel Baldwin said.

RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, was critical in ensuring successful air operations during Talisman Sabre.

Group Captain Stephen Chappell, the Talisman Sabre 2019 Amberley Task Unit Commander, agreed with Colonel Baldwin.

“This successful mission enhances Air Force agility to employ air power in the interest of regional stability and security,” Group Captain Chappell said.

Wing Commander Sarah Stalker, the commanding officer of No. 33 Squadron, said training with the USAF and the F-22s was a great opportunity for the squadron.

“We look forward to continued interoperability with the 90th Fighter Squadron in the future,” she said. NEWS.DEFENCE.GOV.AU