Air and maritime assets came together for integrated high-end warfighting training as part of Exercise Tasman Shield 21, from February 22 to March 12.
CAPTION: A pair of Air Force F35-A Lightning aircraft conduct a flypast over HMAS Hobart during Exercise Tasman Shield. Photo by Petty Office BT Matchett.
HMAS Hobart worked closely with Air Force aircraft, as an integrated joint force, to enhance maritime air defence procedures and demonstrate interoperability through simulated air-maritime missions off the east coast of Australia.
HMAS Kuttabul’s Fleet Air Liaison Officer Wing Commander Sam Thorpe said the exercise was the culmination of a significant focus of air-maritime integration work between Air Force and Navy over the past 12 months.
“Exercise Tasman Shield has enabled an outstanding force generation opportunity for our aircrew, operators and ships warfare officers, to exercise the joint force in complex maritime air defence and high threat scenarios,” Wing Commander Thorpe said.
“This exercise has demonstrated Air Force’s resolve to strengthen our collaboration with Navy, in particular, the seamless integration of the highly capable air warfare destroyer, HMAS Hobart, into the maritime air defence environment.”
Air Force platform integration included an E-7A Wedgetail, P-8A Poseidon, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet, F/A-18A/B Hornet, EA-18G Growler, Hawk 127 lead-in fighter, contracted LR35 aircraft, No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit, No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit, and a number of supporting ground personnel.
It also provided important force generation training for Air Force personnel, with many undergoing squadron level category upgrades and proficiency assessments.
F-35A Lightning II Pilot Flight Lieutenant Sam, from No. 3S Squadron said a highlight of the exercise was working with the HMAS Hobart crew.
“This type of training is truly unique and incredibly valuable, as it allows us to increase our understanding of each other’s systems and doctrine so that we can better integrate in complex environments,” Flight Lieutenant Sam said.
“It was great to see the Navy’s capabilities, and how they can complement our integrated force in the maritime defensive counter air role.”
Exercise Tasman Shield 21 was a force generation and collective training activity conducted in a domestic environment covering large force employment and maritime defensive counter air, with the support of Navy’s HMAS Hobart.