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General Praises U.K.'s Partnership With U.S. in Space Operations

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The United States doesn't go to war alone on land, on the sea, in the air, in cyberspace and most certainly in the space domain, the Space Force's top officer said, citing the United Kingdom as a key ally in effective space defense over the last 50 years.

Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, chief of space operations and commander of U.S. Space Command, delivered a virtual keynote address at the London Air & Space Power Conference today.


The United States and its allies and partners rely on satellites to provide communications; precision navigation and timing; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and missile warning, the general said. Safeguarding those space systems also is important to the global economy, he noted, citing transportation and financial markets that rely on GPS and the speed of information transfer.

But space superiority and the information advantage it provides are no longer a given, Raymond said. "Strategic competitors such as China and Russia have the means to attack space operations wherever they occur, kinetically and non-kinetically," he said, "on Earth, in orbit, in cyberspace and in the electromagnetic spectrum."

Defending space assets in the future will depend less on individual capabilities and more on close and rapid integration with allies and partners, especially the United Kingdom, he said. 

An airman works on a munition.
Airman Inspection
Air Force airmen assigned to the 7th Munitions Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, complete and inspect a guided bomb unit at Royal Air Force Fairford, England, Oct. 12, 2017. The 7th MUNS participated in real-time training for various B-1B Lancer exercises to support the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Copeland
VIRIN: 171012-F-MJ107-209M
A fighter jet soars in the sky.
Point Blank
An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron launches from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Force units in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte
VIRIN: 200512-F-PW483-0247M

"We are stronger together, especially in the space domain," he said. "The United States does not go to war alone. I cannot imagine a better friend and ally than the Royal Air Force. Our alliance serves as an anchor for peace and stability around the globe."

The United Kingdom has personnel — including people in key leadership roles — at the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where the coalition continuously coordinates, plans, integrates, synchronizes and executes space operations to support commanders around the globe, he said, and Canada and Australia also are represented there.

The Defense Department also is interested in supporting the Royal Air Force's Team Artemis program, a transatlantic collaboration that includes the delivery of small military satellites, Raymond said. DOD also is investigating partnerships with the U.K. on projects involving satellite communications systems, he added.

An aircraft is refueled in mid-air.
Aerial Ops
A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England,, conducts aerial operations with F-15 aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea, May 12, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Plew
VIRIN: 200512-F-QP712-0198M

Raymond praised the Royal Air Force, which he said is "the world's oldest air force, resilient and respected since 1918."

About 3,000 RAF pilots were engaged in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago, he noted, one of the most significant air battles in history. The RAF achieved a remarkable victory despite being outnumbered 4.5 to 1.

The United States and the United Kingdom have fought alongside each other in both world wars and subsequent wars, including today's war on terror, Raymond added. "This unity remains so important today."

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