Projecting airpower from South-East Asia

This year, RAAF’s 19 Squadron played a vital role in the success of Exercise Elangaroo 22, hosting nearly 200 personnel along with the F-35A Lightning II and C-27J Spartan for the first time.

CAPTION: Personnel from 19 Squadron and 35 Squadron refuel a C-27J Spartan at RMAF Butterworth Air Base, Malaysia. Story by Flight Lieutenant Bronwyn Marchant. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Adam Abela.

Embedded with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) at their Butterworth Air Base, 19 Squadron is responsible for the projection of air power for ADF international operations within the Indo-Pacific region.

Commanding Officer of 19 Squadron, Wing Commander Darren Prior said the squadron –consisting of 30 aviators, 1 APS and 55 locally engaged civilians – works collaboratively with their RMAF counterparts to ensure the success of international engagement activities such as Elangaroo.

“We achieve this through the sustained delivery of airbase operations squadron capabilities such as aviation refuelling, strategic communications networks, air movements, logistics, accommodation and messing, and upkeep of all ADF facilities at Butterworth, including welfare facilities,” Wing Commander Prior said.

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CAPTION: A C-27J Spartan from 35 Squadron alongside a 19 Squadron refuelling tanker. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Adam Abela.

“Our RMAF host provides major airbase capabilities including runway/taxiway operations, air traffic control, firefighting and rescue, meteorological services and base security.

“We work closely alongside the RMAF to ensure that operation and exercise needs are met – enabling the capability and strategic reach to conduct and enhance regional responses and international operations.”

Wing Commander Prior said both RAAF and RMAF look for opportunities to share ideas and work practices to strengthen mutual understanding and respect. The addition of a Tindal-based wildlife management officer for Elangaroo is a fine example.

“Exercise Elangaroo has been a fantastic opportunity to further enhance the relationship we have with our Malaysian partners, especially being the first deployment of a RAAF 5th generation aircraft to South-East Asia,” Wing Commander Prior said.

“Our 19 Squadron refuellers have been able to get up close to the F-35A Lighting II and C-27J Spartan for the first time, which is not only essential to the exercise, but also supports force generation activities to further upskill and develop our workforce.”

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CAPTION: A C-27J Spartan from 35 Squadron alongside 19 Squadron’s hanger. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Adam Abela.





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