U.S., RAAF fighter squadron leaders discuss EAC joint training

From left: Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander; and Wing Commander Mick Grant, 75 Squadron commander pose for a photo in front of a RAAF 75 SQ F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. 90th FS F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

From left: Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander; and Wing Commander Mick Grant, 75 Squadron commander pose for a photo in front of a RAAF 75 SQ F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. 90th FS F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

Royal Australian Air Force Aircraft Woman Eqxelle Evans, 17 Squadron Fire and Rescue, and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Corbin King, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, review emergency shutdown procedures of an F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal Feb. 16, 2016. Twelve F-22s and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are at RAAF Base Tindal as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation Initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

Royal Australian Air Force Aircraft Woman Eqxelle Evans, 17 Squadron Fire and Rescue, and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Corbin King, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, review emergency shutdown procedures of an F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal Feb. 16, 2016. Twelve F-22s and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are at RAAF Base Tindal as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation Initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander, speak to members of the media, accompanied by Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; Wing Commander Mick Grant, 75 Squadron commander; and Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander, speak to members of the media, accompanied by Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; Wing Commander Mick Grant, 75 Squadron commander; and Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

Royal Australian Air Force maintenance airmen watch as an F-22 Raptor takes off at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

Royal Australian Air Force maintenance airmen watch as an F-22 Raptor takes off at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force maintenance airmen watch as an F-22 Raptor takes off at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force maintenance airmen watch as an F-22 Raptor takes off at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail taxies past a U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail taxies past a U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A/B Hornet taxies past a U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A/B Hornet taxies past a U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th Fighter Squadron commander, and Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, discuss the combined capabilities of the RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th Fighter Squadron commander, and Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, discuss the combined capabilities of the RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

From left: Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander, pose for a photo in front of a RAAF 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. 90th FS F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

From left: Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant William Grady, 90th Fighter Squadron exchange pilot; Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer; and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander, pose for a photo in front of a RAAF 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. 90th FS F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail taxies behind a RAAF 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)
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A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail taxies behind a RAAF 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornet and U.S. Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th Fighter Squadron commander, and Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, shake hands in front of a U.S. F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)
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U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th Fighter Squadron commander, and Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, shake hands in front of a U.S. F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

Royal Australian Air Force Leading Aircraft Woman Sarah Ellis, 17 Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brenden Bumbert, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, discuss safety points and procedures regarding the F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)
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Royal Australian Air Force Leading Aircraft Woman Sarah Ellis, 17 Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brenden Bumbert, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, discuss safety points and procedures regarding the F-22 Raptor at RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, Feb. 24, 2017. Twelve F-22 Raptors and approximately 200 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation, an initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez)

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE TINDAL, NT, Australia -- U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron leaders discussed interoperability and tactical integration here Feb. 24 as their combined Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) training continues.

EAC is a combined training activity initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the U.S. and Australian governments. This EAC rotation brought together the U.S. Air Force’s 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and the Royal Australian Air Force’s 75 Squadron F/A-18A/B Hornets from RAAF Base Tindal, two squadrons who share a long history of working side by side.

“We’re back together again operating in a really significant training exercise testing our integration and our interoperability,” said 75 SQN commander Mick Grant. “It’s no small effort to bring a squadron all the way down from Alaska and we’re really excited to have them operating here in our backyard.”

Grant said a huge function of the exercise activity is bringing together 4th and 5th generation aircraft which will be important for the RAAF’s future fighter capabilities as they prepare to receive F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

“It’s critical for Australia because we will have F/A-18s and F-35s, 4th and 5th generation aircraft working together, and we need to be good at it,” Grant said. “We’re getting valuable training this week. We are taking the strengths of our 4th generation aircraft and combining them with the strengths of a 5th generation aircraft — we bundle those strengths into one package to deal with the threats in our current training scenarios.”

Lt. Col. David Skalicky, 90th FS commander, said that while the squadrons have been able to work together in larger capacities, this exercise activity allows a more in-depth training on a smaller scale.

“This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to integrate at the unit level which has provided us a unique opportunity to delve into the tactics and individual execution of each pilot and make us better as a team,” Skalicky said. “As we get better as a team, we’re better postured as a coalition to deal with the challenges of the future.”

A unique capability that has further integrated the two squadrons is the exchange pilot program. Currently, RAAF pilot Flight Lieutenant William Grady is nearing the end of his three-year tenure as an exchange pilot with the 90th FS.

Grady said the opportunity to work with the 90th FS is a fantastic opportunity for him personally and professionally.

“The premise of the exchange [program] is to gain a solid understanding of 5th generation fighter flying, and bring back tactics and techniques so [the RAAF] can stand up the integrated and technical force that we’re desiring,” Grady explained.

Skalicky highlighted the logistical piece of the exercise which includes support from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker providing aerial refueling and a C-17 Globemaster providing the ability to move equipment and personnel. The aircraft and their support personnel are in addition to the maintainers, security forces and supply airmen that are combining their unique capabilities in order to sustain the joint exercise activity.

“It’s been a great experience with the logistics side of both forces working together,” Skalicky said. “To see all of that coming together has been phenomenal.”

On the RAAF side, Base Tindal has contributed to the logistical requirements of the EAC by providing lodging facilities, increasing rations at the dining facility and making available other comfort amenities for the more than 200 visiting U.S. Airmen.

Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell, the RAAF Base Tindal Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, said “it’s an absolute pleasure to have the 90th Fighter Squadron visiting RAAF Base Tindal as they work and train with the 75 Squadron.”

EAC exercise activities will continue in Northern Australia through the beginning of March.