A squadron of United States Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptors arrived in Australia Friday ahead of the first Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) activity in Australia under the US Force Posture Initiatives.
Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne said the visiting F-22s will be located at RAAF Base Tindal and will be the largest and longest rotation of fifth-generation aircraft to Australia to date.
“The F-22s will conduct integrated training activities with the Royal Australian Air Force’s 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornets along with ground assets and personnel,” Minister Payne said.
“The EAC aims to strengthen bilateral collaboration and interoperability with the United States.”
The commencement of EAC activities in 2017 will continue to strengthen our already close air-to-air relationship with the US.
“The EAC will build on a range of air exercises and training activities already undertaken between Australia and the United States,’’ Minister Payne said.
“While EAC will see an increase in training, it will be on a short term rotational basis using Australian facilities.’’
While visiting RAAF Base Tindal, the USAF F-22s along with the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18A/B Hornets will conduct short training visits to Townsville while the F-22s will also be on public display at the Australian International Air Show in Avalon.
The commencement of EAC activities will be followed by the sixth rotation of US Marine Corps personnel to Darwin.
The 2017 rotation, arriving in Darwin in April, is forecast to be the most complex Marine Air Ground Task Force deployed to Australia.
Approximately 1,250 Marines and up to 13 aircraft, including four MV-22 Ospreys, will create opportunities for more complex and sophisticated training activities.