The new Australian Chief of Air Force travelled to Washington to sign a ‘joint vision statement’ with the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force.
Air Marshal Robert Chipman and US Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Charles Q. Brown Jr’s, declaration came months after the US sent five of its $2 billion B-2 stealth bombers to train with RAAF F-35s.
“Our increasing levels of interoperability are based on a rich history of operating together,” Chipman said.
“We will continue to design our forces to survive and succeed by rapidly building the capacity, concepts and capabilities necessary for tomorrow’s emerging threats, while enhancing combined operations expertise for today’s challenges.”
General Brown said, “The relationship between the US and Australia dates back more than 100 years.
“Signing the joint vision statement represents another step in the long-term, enduring commitment we have to the future and to the security of our two countries.”
The collaboration between the air forces comes after the US sent its B-2s to RAAF Base Amberley for a month of training in the winter.
The UFO-like Spirit can carry nuclear weapons and is thought to be the most expensive aircraft ever made, valued at around $2 billion each.
The visit of the batwing B-2s to Base Amberley amounted to the biggest ever deployment of the US’s most important military jet to Australia, with the country’s active fleet only numbering 20.
In total, six B-2s have visited Base Amberley this year, with one aircraft touching down in March before the previous deployment of five began in July.
The fleet visited as part of an initiative to improve interoperability between the US Air Force and the RAAF’s F-35s. They were joined by “several” KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling aircraft.
Robert Chipman was promoted to becoming Air Marshal and head of the RAAF in June, replacing Mel Hupfeld.
Chipman is a former Hornet fighter jet pilot and instructor. He joined the RAAF in 1989 and has enjoyed an extraordinary career that saw him initially posted to No 25 and then No 76 squadron flying the Macchi MB326H, a light military jet trainer. He then completed a F/A-18 Hornet Operational Conversion in 1995.