Achieving Coalition air superiority

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet

KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft of No 33 Squadron played a pivotal role in Exercise Talisman Sabre, conducting air-to-air refuelling of RAAF and Coalition aircraft engaged in air defence and strike sorties during the multinational exercise.

Combat aircraft such as the F/A-18F Super Hornet and other fighter jets require air refuelling to provide extended range and time on station, and aerial tankers such as the RAAF’s KC-30A provide this invaluable Operational support.

Also important is to exercise interoperability between the RAAF and US Air Force during mid-air refuelling operations during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017.

Onboard for one such flight, a KC-30A departed home base at Amberley to airspace over Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton. The mission: offload fuel to fighter jets participating in the war games.

In an incredible feat, the KC-30A was able to offload approximately 9000 pounds of fuel to each aircraft in the space of 10 to 15 minutes, regardless of whether the jet was a RAAF or US Air Force aircraft.

USAF Captain Passion Julinsey said this display of interoperability contributes to the overall effectiveness of air power, which ultimately allows the RAAF and USAF to achieve air superiority.

“This mission shows the interoperability between the Australian and US Forces, because in a real combat environment we would have to work together,” CAPT Julinsey said.“There are multiple jets from various countries operating in environments such as Syria and Iraq, and we need to be able to refuel each other’s aircraft.

“This aerial refuelling capability contributes to the effective delivery of air power, enabling combat jets to achieve air superiority.”

Air superiority is at the forefront of both the RAAF and USAF’s focus during Talisman Sabre according to CAPT Julinsey. “Throughout aviation history, nobody has won a war without achieving air superiority first.

“Talisman Sabre shows the strength of the alliance the United States has with Australia.
“We have been partners for many, many years which goes back to World War II, particularly the Battle of the Coral Sea 75 years ago.

“Today, you can see that our aviation platforms and technology can work very closely together, even better than we did back then.”

TS17 is the biggest military exercise in the Pacific involving 30,000 Australian and American personnel. The importance of Talisman Sabre is heightened now more than ever with growing tensions worldwide.

by Aislinn Dwyer