U.S. Air Force Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander; Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Rob Chipman, chief of RAAF; and German Air Force Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, German air force air chief; flew fighter aircraft over Australia’s Northern Territory Sept. 5, in a demonstration of friendship and cooperative leadership.
Wilsbach flew an F-22 Raptor, Gerhartz a Eurofighter, and Chipman a RAAF EA-18G Growler as part of a dynamic force employment demonstration designed to increase the lethality of forces in contested environments and improve interoperability among the joint, allied, and partner nation members.
"When we talk about interoperability, it's not only about platforms and systems, but also the interoperability of our Airmen," Wilsbach said. "We are talking about building trust with our allies and partners."
The desire to build upon foundational multilateral capabilities is paramount to international cooperation in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. Leaders often set the example for the development of international relationships.
"I'm proud to be a fighter pilot and lead my forces from the front," Gerhartz said. "Getting to fly alongside America and our other allies makes me feel even more confident in our interoperability."
The air chiefs discussed allies and partners as an asymmetric advantage when it comes to long-term competition with adversaries that seek to undermine shared values and international norms. Through frequent exercises, leadership exchanges, and other international engagements, PACAF builds global relationships to enhance trust around the world.
"This is just a small demonstration among the many we make on a daily basis to show that our Airmen are dedicated, trained, and ready to deliver airpower to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific," Wilsbach explained. "Adversaries that look to disrupt the security and stability in this region be warned — you will face a combined global network of allies and partners who have been training together for decades to operate seamlessly against you.”