US military boss talks air force interoperability at Amberley

By Melissa Coade

August 1, 2022

Commander of US military forces in the Indo-Pacific Admiral John C. Aquilino (r) with commander Combat Support Group Air Commodore David Paddison CSC (l). (Defence)

Integrated training between the Australian and US air forces was the focus of a visit to RAAF Base Amberley by ​​admiral John C. Aquilino.

Aquilino visited the base on Sunday as part of his time in Australia for the 24th annual Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense (CHODs) conference.

The Commander of US military forces in the Indo-Pacific used the opportunity to discuss how the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) program was facilitating integrated training between Australian and US air force personnel. US personnel from the 509th Bomb Wing and B-2 aircraft are currently being hosted at Amberly as part of the program. 

Commander of Combat Support Group Air Commodore David Paddison met with the Admiral. He said it was a privilege to have Aquilino visit Australia’s largest Air Force base and to meet aviators and their peers from the 509th Bomb Wing.

“This partnership has been instrumental in enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of both our forces through joint exercises and activities,” Paddison said. 

“It’s not a regular occurrence for our refuelling, security and firefighters to gain experience on aircraft such as the B-2.”

EAC was launched five years ago, in February 2017. The program aims to create what Defence says is a “broad range of long-standing air exercises and training activities” for Australia and the US military personnel. 

The advanced air-to-air integration program is one of the US Force Posture Initiatives, providing opportunities for Australia and the US to enhance engagement with regional partner air forces through exercises and training activities.

“The Indo-Pacific is our home and we stand committed to an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific,” Paddison said. 


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