US, Britain and France deepen cooperation among their Air Forces

French Air Force Mirage 2000 during an exercise named

From Defense News:  The air forces of Britain, France and the U.S. are looking at ways to work more closely together by cooperating on strategy and doctrine – and future systems – at their most senior levels.

"I have a French officer and a British officer in my [strategic studies group], and we have exchanged with them and this will continue going forward," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, the U.S. Air Force chief of staff. "We will collaborate on how the best air forces in the world mix and match their capabilities for the best defense."

French Air Force chief of staff Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros echoed Schwartz.

"The idea is to reflect together on the concept of the future air force and benefit from lessons learned in the operational theater," Palomeros said. "We have a lot in common. We want to think together on the lessons learned in Afghanistan, lessons from history and operations. It’s a coalition of good will."

Each of the three air forces – which have cooperated closely since World War I, most recently in Afghanistan – has established strategic studies groups (SSGs) staffed by officers from each country. The three also have well-rounded air forces with balanced strike, airlift, tanker and ISR capabilities that regularly participate in major multinational peacekeeping, humanitarian and combat operations.

Moreover, fiscal pressures in Britain, France and the U.S. encourage cooperation.

Australia for its part is an adjunct member of the group, with an officer from the embassy who works closely with the U.S. Air Force’s SSG.

Palomeros said the French already have American and British officers working in their strategic studies group, which is looking at air force roles in the next decade.

"We hope to move fairly quickly," he said. "We hope to have the first ideas by the end of the year. Time is important."  (photo: Getty)

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