USAF to expand bomber presence in NT

The US Air Force (USAF) is studying options for new bomber and tanker aircraft rotations through Australia, according to a senior US military official.

The United States has reached an agreement with Australia on a "force posture initiative", General Lori Robinson, commander of the USAF's Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), said during a 18 November Defense Writers' Group breakfast in Washington, DC.

"The idea is much like what we do in Guam - rotation of tankers and bombers to do training and working with Australian allies … as well as training our pilots and aircrew - to help them understand the vastness of that region," said Gen Robinson.

The bombers and tankers would rotate through Australia's RAAF Base Tindal, but details about numbers of aircraft and timings are still being negotiated. "So that's all part of the conversations that we're having now," she added.

The new Northrop Grumman Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) could also be involved in that effort once it is deployed, the general said.

"Our ability to power project through the theatre would be one of the capabilities that we would want to have because … that shows a commitment to the theatre," said Gen Robinson.

"As we go forward it will probably … do continuous bomber presence just like we're doing now and provide that stability," she added.

The United States has reached an agreement with Australia to conduct bomber and tanker rotatations through Australia's RAAF Base Tindal. In addition to legacy bombers, the new LRS-B could also be involved in the effort once it is deployed.