TC-135 Visits 51 Squadron at RAF Waddington

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The 55th Wing brought a TC-135 training aircraft here to conduct routine flight deck training with their partners at 51 Squadron September 25, 2023.

The Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth has developed strong ties with 51 Squadron since they began flying RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft more than 10 years ago now.

While in the U.K., the crew also shared knowledge and expertise of engine-running crew changes and hot pit refueling. The goal was to help 51 Squadron develop its approach towards Agile Combat Employment options for their commanders.

While combined force tactics is nothing new, ACE requires a higher degree of interoperability in the critical activities of command and control, engineering and logistics, base defense, intelligence-sharing and others.

“Having our Air Force colleagues visit from across the pond shows the strong ties and interoperability between our two organizations,” said RAF Wing Commander Keith Bissett, 51 Squadron commander. “The training that my crews [achieved] this week on the TC-135 is incredibility useful. It also demonstrates the ability of Air Force and RAF crews to operate on each other’s aircraft, building flexibility and resilience for both partners.”

The realization of that interoperability will support the presentation of a combat-credible coalition, which delivers deterrence and warfighting capabilities using proactive and reactive maneuverers to improve airpower survivability and increase options for power projection.

“A strong command relationship with our RAF crews increases the quality of our training with our allies and partners, and allows our forces to counter military aggression and coercion by sharing responsibilities for common defense,” said Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander.