Exercise Green Lighting

Senior Airman Cory Cahill listens to a B-2 Spirit aircrew during exercise Green Lightning at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin on July 27.  The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians. Airman Cahill is from the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airman Cory Cahill listens to a B-2 Spirit aircrew during exercise Green Lightning at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin on July 27. The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians. Airman Cahill is from the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Australian army Cpl. Tony Baker and Axle keep watch over a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on July 27 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin during exercise Green Lightning.  The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians.  Corporal Baker is a K-9 handler with the Royal Australian Defense Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Australian army Cpl. Tony Baker and Axle keep watch over a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on July 27 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin during exercise Green Lightning. The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians. Corporal Baker is a K-9 handler with the Royal Australian Defense Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hord waits to marshal a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber from its parking spot at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin on July 27 during exercise Green Lightning. The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians. Sergeant Hord is from the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hord waits to marshal a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber from its parking spot at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin on July 27 during exercise Green Lightning. The exercise tests U.S. capabilities and provides operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence while also serving to enhance relations with the Australians. Sergeant Hord is from the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE DARWIN, Australia -- B-2 Stealth bombers, KC-10 Extenders and support personnel are conducting exercise Green Lighting to improve the U.S. capabilities and operational familiarity in the region for the Pacific bomber presence and to enhance relations with the Australians.

“The United States and Australia continue to be close allies in our shared commitment to maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Col. Bob Wheeler 36th Expeditionary Operations Group commander. “U.S. bombers working side by side with our Australian counter parts provides both nations armed forces opportunity to build on that shared commitment,” said Wheeler.

Movement of bombers into the western Pacific has been occurring for more than two years as the Pacific command adjusts its forces posture to maintain a deterrent capability. This training is not in response to any particular world event but something that has been in the planning stages for several months.

In Nov. 2005 in a joint agreement by Australia and the United States the U.S. Air Force announced it would begin regular strategic bomber aircraft training in the Northern Territory in 2006. The strategic bomber training program would involve B-1, B-52 and B-2 bomber aircraft flying from the states and conducting operations at the Delamere Air Weapons Range situated about 130km south-west of Katherine in the Northern Territory.

“A key component of our strong defense relationship with the United States is our ongoing combined training program,” said the Hon. Dr. Brendan Nelson Australian Minister for Defense. “Training and exercising with the world’s most technologically advanced armed forces provide many benefits to the Australian Defense Force which cannot be obtained through other means,” he said.

Like many missions conducted by the Air Force they cannot be completed with out fuel. KC-10 Extenders from the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron are providing the necessary fuel for the B-2 during their 18 hour training sorties.

“This operations a perfect example of the Air Force’s total force in action,” said Lt. Col. Jon Spare, 506th EARS commander. “Both Air Force Reservist and active duty Airmen cooperatively working together to ensure the success of these mission.”

The United States and Australia continues to maintain a close alliance and a shared commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia and the Pacific region. Training in Australia much like those done by other air forces will improve U.S. capabilities and operational familiarity in the region and will serve to enhance our potential to contribute only the best capabilities to support mutual interests.