This year’s Exercise Havoc Strike, 4 Squadron’s premier close-air support exercise, included the participation of members from the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
CAPTION: Philippine Air Force members work with RAAF Combat Controllers from 4 Squadron during Close Air Support training activities at Salt Ash Air Weapons Range near RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Story by Flight Sergeant Josa Kohler. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.
The bilateral exercise was conducted in locations around the Hunter Region and RAAF Base Williamtown.
Designed to expose the PAF members to Royal Australian Air Force training systems and air-land integration procedures, the exercise provided an important training opportunity by demonstrating how RAAF employs both aircrew and joint terminal attack controllers.
Flight Commander 4 Squadron, Squadron Leader J, said the PAF sent six combat air controllers to participate in the exercise, which provided an opportunity to impact their training directly through a train-the-trainer continuum as well as exposure to ADF training processes, facilities and aircraft.
During their first week in Australia, the PAF members focused on close air support academics and simulated scenarios, including capability briefs from RAAF aircrew on a multitude of aircraft types.
Week two of Havoc Strike included live close air support training at Oyster Cove involving the 4 Squadron PC-21, followed by the 76 Squadron Hawk 127 at the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range, using live ordnance.
The exercise moved to the Singleton military training area to integrate training with the School of Infantry and focus on urban scenarios.
Havoc Strike culminated in a full mission profile at Bulahdelah employing the F-35A Lightning II and PC-21 in support of a ground manoeuvre.
The PAF combat air controllers appreciated the opportunity to conduct the urban scenario with the support of the RAAF’s fifth-generation aircraft – something they had not done before.
Squadron Leader J said Havoc Strike offered RAAF a great opportunity to work with PAF and exchange training methods.
“This exercise is the first of its type between the RAAF and PAF and is aimed at strengthening international engagement and interoperability across the region,” Squadron Leader J said.