Growlers ready for first international exercise

Four EA-18G Growler aircraft and crews from Number 6 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley are preparing to deploy on their first international exercise.

FILE PHOTOA pair of RAAF EA-18G Growlers en route to the Australian International Airshow at Avalon. Photo by Sergeant Mick Both.

From 29 January to 16 February 2018 around 340 Royal Australian Air Force personnel will deploy to Nevada to train in the world’s most complex air-combat exercise environment during Exercise Red Flag 18-1.

The RAAF personnel will support and participate in missions during the premier air combat exercise alongside counterparts from the United States and the United Kingdom, in an exercise designed to reconstruct a modern and complex battlespace.

Deputy Exercise Director and RAAF Task Group Headquarters Commander Group Captain Tim Alsop said Red Flag was the pinnacle of advanced air-warfare training.

“Every year the RAAF is invited to participate in Red Flag, and we gain so much as an organisation in terms of how we train and also how we operate as a deployed force in a multi-national environment,” Group Captain Alsop said.

“The Growlers’ overseas deployment to a multi-national exercise of this scale, a mere year after having been transferred to No. 6 Squadron, is an important milestone for both Air Combat Group and RAAF.”

An AP-3C Orion and an E-7A Wedgetail will also participate in Red Flag, along with a Control and Reporting Centre from 41 Wing to support airborne personnel and aircraft.

Group Captain Alsop said that during the exercise, participants would practice planning and executing day- and night-time missions, using large numbers of aircraft and ground systems, coordinated to overcome a considerable simulated adversary.

“This includes a range of air-power roles for RAAF personnel, from air superiority and strike; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to electronic warfare.

“It provides a comprehensive training environment for aircrew, maintenance and support personnel alike.

“Established in 1980 by the US Air Force, Exercise Red Flag provides personnel with an opportunity to experience a complex, modern and dynamic combat landscape.

“This exercise is about understanding our international partners, how we train and communicate together and further strengthening our interoperability and preparedness for real-time operations.”

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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