Air warfare over the ‘Top End’

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Aircraft, crews and support personnel from RAAF Amberley and other bases have returned home from a major air power exercise in the Northern Territory. RAAF F/A/18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers supported by C-17A Globemasters and KC-30A air refueller aircraft took part in Exercise Diamond Storm, a multinational Large Force Employment Exercise aimed at executing tactical offensive counter air operations.
While the core focus of the exercise was completing the final phase of the Air Warfare Instructor Course for the Air Force’s next generation of Air Warfare Instructors, the US Air Force and RAAF combat elements also conducted realistic air combat training within these Air Warfare training scenarios.
Exercise Director, Group Captain Matthew McCormack, said these exercises were important to integrating platforms, people and systems and forms part of the ADF’s introduction of 5th generation air warfare capabilities.
“The exercise involved training in war-like scenarios that would shape the way Air Force fights in the future,” he said.
For its part, the US Air Force deployed F-15C Eagles and B-52H Stratofortress bombers while the US Marine Corps operated its MV-22 Osprey and AH-1Z Viper from the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.
Also taking part were RAAF F/A-18A Hornet, Hawk 127, AP-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, E-7A Wedgetail and C-130J Hercules.
Supporting the aircraft were a range of ground-based surveillance and reconnaissance, Air Warfare Centre and Combat Support Group capabilities and personnel.
Launched from RAAF bases at Darwin and Tindal, the mix of aircraft – including fighter, strike, air transport, helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft – conducted realistic air warfare training, which included live weapons releases.