U.S. and Australia Deepen Military Air Defense Cooperation

U.S. and Australia Deepen Military Air Defense Cooperation

Robust air defense is a key planning element that the United States has not had to address much during the last two decades of conflict in the Middle East.


American Marines and Australian Defense Forces recently highlighted the two nations’ interoperability during exercises RAPTOR’S STRIKE 22 and DIAMOND STORM 22, events that underscore how close the United States and Australian relationship in the Indo-Pacific is.

“RAPTOR’S STRIKE 22 featured low altitude air defense interoperability and allowed USMC LAAD Marines from the Marine Air Control Group 38 detachment to integrate with their counterpart ADF forces in Adelaide, South Australia,” a U.S. Marine Corps statement covering the events explained.


It added that “MRF-D Marines worked closely with the 110th Air Defense Battery to enhance integrated air and missile defense. The exercise demonstrated a primary feature of force design 2030 concepts and expeditionary advanced base operations.”

A robust air defense capability is incredibly important for U.S. Marine Corps operations and is a key planning element that the United States has not had to address much during the last two decades of conflict in the Middle East, where it enjoyed complete air superiority.

“Working with 110 Battery was a valuable experience that allowed us to learn from each other, which strengthened a bond that will undoubtedly be passed to future MRF-D deployments,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Bazanos, the platoon commander for the MRF-D LAAD detachment in a statement. “Working with our Australian air defense counterparts opened the door for creating TTPs for future MACG-38 and ADF integration.”

The United States has grown particularly close to Australia in recent years. In September 2021, the United States Navy offered Australia access to the crown jewel of American nuclear deterrence: nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS security partnership with the United Kingdom. Previously, the United States only shared underwater nuclear propulsion secrets with the Royal Navy during the Cold War.

Though the move came as a shock—particularly for the French, who had anticipated building Australia’s latest, albeit non-nuclear-powered submarines—it highlighted the increasing closeness of the Australia-American relationship as well as both nations’ increasing concern about security in the Pacific region.

“We will fight in defense of our allies and will operate in close alignment with them, from their territories, alongside their ships and aircraft, and in cooperative and even integrated formations on the ground,” provided Gen. David Berger, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, in his 2019 planning guidance. “Our forward deployed forces will continue to enhance the interoperability of our tactics, techniques, and procedures, while our capability developers enhance the interoperability of our systems.”

So while the United States is increasingly cooperating with Australia below the waves, so too are the two nations prioritizing cooperation in the air.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy.