Two more B-2 Spirit bombers arrived at RAAF Base Amberley on Tuesday – and Australian Aviation photographer Craig Murray was on hand to capture the moment.
The iconic stealth aircraft, from the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), are visiting as part of an initiative to improve interoperability between the US Air Force and the RAAF.
The B-2s will be joined by “several” KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling aircraft. You can see Murray’s incredible photos below. Click the images to enlarge.
New aircraft arriving from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri over the last two days included:
- 82-1068 ‘Spirit of New York’ as RAVE11;
- 82-1070 ‘Spirit of Ohio’ at RAVE12
- 82-1067 ‘Spirit of Arizona as RAVE21;
- 90-0040 ‘Spirit of Alaska as RAVE22.
“This deployment of the B-2 to Australia demonstrates and enhances the readiness and lethality of our long-range penetrating strike force,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, commander of the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.
“We look forward to training and enhancing our interoperability with our RAAF teammates, as well as partners and allies across the Indo-Pacific as we meet PACAF objectives.”
The aircraft arrived from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) initiative. The EAC began in 2018 to create air exercises and training activities between Australia and the United States.
The UFO-like B-2 is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. It has a crew of two pilots: one in the left seat and a mission commander in the right.
It was first publicly displayed in 1988, when it was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42 in California, before its maiden flight the next year.
A B-2 last last visited Amberley in April this year. Australian Aviation reported how RAAF Leading Aircraftwoman Mairead Nash was among the cohort tasked with securing the stealth bomber.
“Our work requirements and procedures aligned very well with the visiting USAF security forces as they follow a very similar routine,” LACW Nash said.
“The opportunity allowed us to gain new experiences and perspectives from our coalition friends.
“The opportunity to provide security for a significant USAF asset helped build both respect and rapport between the two partners’ security teams.”
Aircraftman James Lunney welcomed the opportunity to work with USAF counterparts.
“They were easy to get along with and maintained an easygoing yet highly professional demeanour,” AC Lunney said.