Expanding Capabilities and Partnership

The Air Force’s engagement and rotational presence in the Asia-Pacific region is a growing enterprise, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces boss, on Monday. One of US Pacific Command’s greatest demands is for better intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance coverage of the region, said Carlisle during his May 5 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He announced that RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft would be arriving at Misawa AB, Japan, by month’s end. By stationing the Global Hawk at Misawa, PACAF officials estimate that the aircraft’s utilization rate will go up 60 percent to 70 percent, he said. This is because the aircraft will be staging outside of the so-called “typhoon belt” that affects flight operations at PACAF bases further to the south, he said. The Air Force’s rotational presence is ramping up to meet PACAF’s goal of reanimating the Checkered Flag-type tours of stateside units to places like RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal in Australia, said Carlisle. Agreements are also expanding cooperation with allies. As a result of the newly signed US-Philippine defense agreement, the United States now has the ability to forward-position supply stocks in the Philippines for greater responsiveness during regional humanitarian and disaster-relief operations. The Philippines will also be participating in the next iteration of the Cope North exercise on Guam, collaborating on HADR drills along with elements of New Zealand’s air force, said Carlisle.