More than 90 personnel from the United States Air Force’s Aircraft Maintenance Unit are stationed at RAAF Base Amberley participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.
Weapons, avionics, environmental, mechanical and production specialists are assisting the 90th Fighter Squadron with the first F-22 Raptor operations in Australia.
Master Sergeant Fredrick Cook jr, Lead Production Superintendent said his team received the tasking months before the exercise began and are supporting up to 14 aircraft sorties a day.
“The goal of Talisman Sabre for us is to learn to operate away from home,” Master Sergeant Cook said.
“We are working closely with the RAAF Maintenance Operations Centre here on base regarding the delivery of equipment and engine repairs.”
“We have deployed to Amberley millions of dollars in parts for the F-22s so it has been a massive undertaking.”
Parked near the 36 Squadron hangar, deployable debriefing facilities and combat communications centres have also been installed by USAF personnel.
Master Sergeant Cook said the international airlift effort and preparation involved multiple aircraft.
“When we first arrived there were kangaroos hopping all over the taxiway – such a unique thing for our team to see,” Master Sergeant Cook said.
Flight Lieutenant Sam Stockdale, Officer in Charge of the Amberley Talisman Sabre Maintenance Operations Centre (MOC) said it has been stood up as a conduit between the USAF 90th Fighter Squadron and the usual Amberley base business.
“The MOC assists Master Sergeant Cook and his team with the coordination of resources such as fuel, and acts as a liaison for the prioritisation of other local base services, even aircraft parking,” Flight Lieutenant Stockdale said.
“Essentially, the MOC is a centralised maintenance cell acting as a host for our visitors.”
Flight Lieutenant Stockdale said they have USAF personnel embedded in the MOC on an ad-hoc basis who assist with the sometimes humorous language differences that arise.
“The main one is calling aircraft fuel ‘gas’, and tow motors ‘tugs’,” Flight Lieutenant Stockdale said.
“These things are easy to get around. Yesterday, I had to clarify that a skip is just a ‘big trash can’.”