Sequenced bomber missions to Australia showcase alliance

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail

U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on a higher headquarters-directed Continuous Bomber Presence mission in support of exercise Pitch Black 18 in Australia’s Northern Territory Aug. 6, 2018 (HST). Bilateral training between the United States and allies like Australia increases interoperability and strengthens our long-standing military-to-military partnerships.

U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers, assigned to the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted two sequential bilateral training missions to Australia as part of exercise Pitch Black 18.

Pitch Black, a biennial exercise designed to enhance flight operations and proficiency between participating nations, provided an opportunity for U.S. bombers to integrate with the Australian Defence Force to maintain the proficiency between the two nations. These routine training missions were in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence program.

“The 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron is excited to be participating in exercise Pitch Black,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jonathan Radtke, 96th EBS mission planner. “This training is crucial to our allies’ interoperability and stability within the Indo-Pacific theater. This realistic training gives our crews the unique opportunity to improve their tactics, techniques, and procedures in one of the largest training airspace’s in the world.”

During the missions, the B-52s integrated with Royal Australian Air Force and ADF forces and conducted training in the vicinity of RAAF Base Tyndall, Australia on Aug. 6 and 13.

Sequenced missions with Australia highlight the 100 years of “mateship” between the two nations, emphasizing bonds that date back to World War I. The U.S. and Australia have a long-standing history of maintaining regional stability by demonstrating the strength of their alliance and military-to-military partnership.

The routine employment of CBP missions are in accordance with international law and are vital to the principles that are the foundation of the rules-based global operating system. These missions are intended to maintain the readiness of U.S. forces and are a key component to improving combined and joint service interoperability.