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USAF, RAAF accelerate fight against Da’esh

By Senior Airman Tyler Woodward 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

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SOUTHWEST ASIA, Nov. 2, 2016 — As the fight against Da’esh continues, coalition forces strengthen interoperability at a rapid pace and accelerate the fight. The international relations between allied forces in support of the Mosul Offensive are proving to be essential in the success of Operation Inherent Resolve.

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender crew and a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A crew pose for a photo after completing the first ever coalition formation departure at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Oct. 25, 2016. Between the two air craft, they had the capability to collectively travel more than 20,000 miles in a joint effort to refuel allied air craft in support of the liberation of Mosul, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender crew and a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A crew pose for a photo after completing the first ever coalition formation departure at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Oct. 25, 2016. Between the two air craft, they had the capability to collectively travel more than 20,000 miles in a joint effort to refuel allied air craft in support of the liberation of Mosul, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender crew and a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A crew pose for a photo after completing the first ever coalition formation departure at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Oct. 25, 2016. Between the two air craft, they had the capability to collectively travel more than 20,000 miles in a joint effort to refuel allied air craft in support of the liberation of Mosul, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward) U.S. and RAAF complete first ever formation departure
A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender crew and a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A crew pose for a photo after completing the first ever coalition formation departure at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Oct. 25, 2016. Between the two air craft, they had the capability to collectively travel more than 20,000 miles in a joint effort to refuel allied air craft in support of the liberation of Mosul, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)

 "Nothing--and I mean literally nothing--is possible in terms of fighter aviation in CENTCOM unless we get help from our brothers and sisters in the tanker world,” said Col. Paul Birch, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander and F-15 Strike Eagle pilot. “Fighters and tankers are a very close-knit team taking the fight to Da’esh.”

Capable of delivering more than 600 thousand pounds of fuel, the two tankers completed more than a dozen successful refuels during the flight. Many of the receiving aircraft were RAAF F-18 Hornets which provided close air support and interdiction of enemy supply lines directly against Da’esh.

“We have demonstrated greater interoperability,” said Maj. Kyle, USAF military personnel exchange crew member on the RAAF KC-30. “When we fly together in formation, we can provide mutual support for one another."

 The challenges of combining airpowers can be daunting, but for the two crews this opportunity proved to be a rewarding experience.

“I think this mission was definitely a success across the board,” said Lt. Col. Aaron, 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander. “By working with the RAAF, we proved that we could plan, generate, launch and execute a formation. In the future, I think you may even see us consolidate fuel, which would be an added advantage during dynamic operations.”