Tour of bases fosters international ties

Foreign military officials have been able to tour Defence bases in Perth and Exmouth, now that Western Australia’s borders are open.

CAPTION: (L-R) Italian Air Force Defence Attaché Colonel Salvatore Trincone, Canadian Defence Attaché Colonel Richard Raymond, and German Deputy Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel (GS) Dominic Vogel, try food at HMAS Stirling. Story by Kristi Cheng. Photo by Corporal Robert Whitmore.

The Service Attache and Advisor Group (SAAG) wrapped up their long tour with a journey west, as part of an international engagement program that aims to showcase Australian Defence Force (ADF) capabilities and foster defence relations.

One of the bases the group visited was RAAF Base Pearce, home of No. 2 Flying Training School (FTS) and 79 Squadron.

Chief Flying Instructor at 2 FTS Squadron Leader Andrew Robinson, said it was a privilege and honour to host the SAAG.

“I’ve had some good conversations with them about their own training systems,” Squadron Leader Robinson said.

“[We talked about] how they’re evolving, comparing that with our own pilot training system, and learning some pros and cons of each other’s military and training system.”

CAPTION: Members of the Service Attachés and Advisory Group at the Learmonth Solar Observatory, near Exmouth, Western Australia. Photo by Corporal Robert Whitmore.

Defence Adviser from Singapore Colonel Kah Keng Lim, joined the tour for the Western Australia leg.

“This has been a fantastic trip where I got to see so much of what the ADF has and is doing in this specific part of Australia. I am also very heartened to see the strong linkages that we have with the Australian Defence Force,” Colonel Lim said.

While there, he had the chance to rendezvous with personnel from 130 Squadron from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The squadron is based at RAAF Pearce, where it conducts basic wing courses for their pilots.

“I think both air forces have a very strong history of safety and conducting efficient flight training, which puts us in a good spot to have such close collaboration with No. 2 FTS,” Colonel Lim said.

“That will continue to help both air forces to further develop new doctrines and new structures to better train our pilots.

“We are very grateful and thankful to Australians in supporting us to allow our continuous throughput of our pilot trainees across Pearce.”

Other stops on the Western Australia leg included visits to HMAS Stirling, RAAF Learmonth, the joint Bureau of Meteorology and US Air Force-owned solar observatory, and the Harold E. Holt facility in Exmouth.

The group also toured Austal’s headquarters in Henderson, where the defence attaches saw the completed Guardian-class patrol boat scheduled to be handed over to Cook Islands later in June.





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