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US B52s arrive in Darwin for war games with Australian Defence Force

ABC News logo ABC News 22/05/2014 Robert Herrick
US Air Force B-52s take part in joint training at RAAF Darwin. © ABC News US Air Force B-52s take part in joint training at RAAF Darwin.

The US military has flown two Boeing B52 bombers into Darwin ahead of multi-national war games hosted by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The B52s, weighing more than 125,000 kilograms each, will form the tactical backbone of a training exercise dubbed Pitch Black, according to military officials.

Two teams made up of men and women from the US armed forces have also arrived in the Top End to take part in the exercise.

The simulated conflict will involve long-range tactics in the vast, empty airspace between Darwin and Katherine.

Normally operating from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of US Pacific Command rotational presence in the Pacific, the giant B52s have been in service for almost half a century.

However, in that time have been significantly upgraded to maintain their aerial dominance, the US military says.

The war simulation is set to start in August and also involve Royal Australian Air Force.

Pacific rotations enhance security, humanitarian relief: US military

A total of 2,500 US troops are set to be deployed in northern Australia by 2017 as part of a deal announced by US president Barack Obama during his visit to Darwin in 2011.

US Marines began arriving in the Territory on a six-month rotational basis in mid-2012 and have since undertaken joint training exercises with the ADF.

According to a statement, the rotations of US military equipment and personnel in the Pacific region "enhance US ability to train, exercise and operate with Australia and with other allies and partners across the region, further enabling the US to work together with these nations to respond more quickly to a wide range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief, as well as promoting security cooperation efforts across the region".

Decisions on future rotations remain under discussion, the statement adds.

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