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Australian, U.S. Airmen conduct bilateral flying operations

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, takes off while a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A Hornet taxis during Exercise Diamond Storm at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 10, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, takes off while a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A Hornet taxis during Exercise Diamond Storm at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 10, 2019. Both aircraft completed bilateral flying operations together to enhance air cooperation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)​

U.S. Air Force pilots assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS), California Air National Guard, step to their F-15C Eagles during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 13, 2019.

U.S. Air Force pilots assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS), California Air National Guard, step to their F-15C Eagles during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 13, 2019. The 194th EFS helped RAAF Airmen complete an Air Warfare Instructor Course that also went through Exercise Diamond Shield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)​

Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18B Hornet pilots prepare for takeoff during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 10, 2019.

Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18B Hornet pilots prepare for takeoff during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 10, 2019. RAAF pilots joined with U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle and B-52 Stratofortress pilots and participated in bilateral air training to enhance interoperability between the two air forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off during Exercise Diamond Storm at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 9, 2019.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off during Exercise Diamond Storm at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 9, 2019. Exercises and training opportunities like Diamond Storm help the U.S. build a stronger relationship and enhance interoperability with its Australian ally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)​

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, takes off during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 9, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, California Air National Guard, takes off during Exercise Diamond Storm at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Northern Territory, May 9, 2019. Exercises and training opportunities like Diamond Storm help the U.S. build stronger a relationship and enhance interoperability with its Australian ally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)​

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE DARWIN, Australia --

The California Air National Guard’s 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Fresno, California, teamed up with the several units from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to conduct bilateral training during Exercise Diamond Storm May 6-26, 2019.

Diamond Storm is an Australian Air Warfare Center-led exercise designed to enhance interoperability amongst allies and facilitate the introduction of fifth-generation capabilities into the Australian Defense Force.

“It's incredibly important to continue collaborating with one of our most trusted allies and show support in this part of the world,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Allamandola, 194th EFS program manager. “The Australians have created a phenomenal exercise that has increased both our levels of aptitude. Utilizing their unique airspace has highlighted different tactical problems we don't get to see on a regular basis. It's definitely a great opportunity to be with them, that we are privileged to participate in.”

This exercise, the last of a three-part series, also benefits as being a certifying criteria of the Air Warfare Instructor Course for the Australians.

“This is one of the most intense courses the [Australian Defense Force] offers to its candidates,” said RAAF Wing Commander Scott Woodland, 2 Operational Conversion Unit commanding officer. “We are taking highly skilled F-18 pilots and taking them to the next level. It’s been very challenging and very demanding with long hours, but ultimately, it gives great rewards.”

The U.S. Air Force and RAAF want to continue to build on the benefits of this exercise through the Enhanced Air Cooperation initiative and conduct more frequent training together.

“Being able to integrate as a force, understanding each other’s capabilities and limitations, and where we can utilize maximum effects with those capabilities is important,” said Woodland. “Having the expertise that U.S. [Air Force] units bring to the fold also help develop our candidates as well.”

The aim for the increase of training opportunities between the U.S. Air Force and RAAF is to aid in future integration efforts.