Ready to take on new challenges

The challenges overcome and successes achieved by Air Combat Group (ACG) were recognised at a ceremony commemorating the change in leadership of the Force Element Group.

CAPTION: Outgoing Commander Air Combat Group Air Commodore Tim Alsop (left) congratulates the incoming Commanding Officer, Air Commodore Pete Robinson, on officially taking over command during the hand-over and take-over parade at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Story by Flight Lieutenant Bronwyn Marchant. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.

Air Commodore Tim Alsop transferred Command of ACG to Air Commodore Peter Robinson on December 15.

The event was commemorated with a parade at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW, including a flypast from F/A-18F Super Hornets and an EA-18G Growler from RAAF Base Amberley.

Providing a single command structure for all Air Force fast-jet and combat capabilities across 78 Wing, 81 Wing and 82 Wing, ACG is responsible for delivering Australia’s capability to control the air and to conduct precision strike and airborne electronic attack.

Closing the chapter of a momentous three-year tenure, Air Commodore Alsop reflected on his command, which commenced in December 2019.

“It’s hard not to get nostalgic at the end of a command, especially when thinking about all that’s been faced over the last three years,” Air Commodore Alsop said.

“There was a stream of challenges, responding to national emergencies such as fires, floods and pandemics. We conducted an evacuation from Afghanistan, we’ve matured the EA-18G Growler capability, we’ve seen the end of the magnificent F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet and we’ve transitioned to the F-35A Lightning II.

“You get a feeling for the change and the dynamic nature of what it is we do.

“Irrefutably, it’s the women and men who have faced these challenges, who have made my leadership so easy, because they’re the best around doing what they do.”

Air Commodore Alsop thanked all the aviators who have served ACG for their commitment, professionalism and unwavering dedication to the success of air combat operations.

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CAPTION: Air Combat Group personnel march past the dais during the hand-over and take-over ceremony for command of the unit. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.

“I suspect the next few years will be focused around a sharpening of our collective focus around flexibility, deception and manoeuvre. The only thing that’s not going to change is, of course, change itself,” he said.

Having spent a significant portion of his career within ACG, incoming Commander Air Commodore Robinson brings with him a wealth of experience, most recently as Director General Air Combat Capability in Air Force Headquarters.

Addressing his group for the first time as Commander, Air Commodore Robinson said ACG is ready to face new challenges to come.

“It’s an honour to be back on Worimi land and it’s quite humbling to now be in a position to command such an awesome part of ADF capability,” Air Commodore Robinson said.

He has been impressed by what has been achieved in the past few years.

“It has just been phenomenal and that’s thanks to the Commander right down to our youngest aviators,” Air Commodore Robinson said.

“For the number of decades that I’ve been in Defence, I’ve never seen things as challenging as they are today. But the joy of that is that it comes with a real focus of what we need to put our efforts into.

“The quality and the tenacity of every individual is absolutely awesome. I look forward to working with you all over the next few years as we take ACG forward.”

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CAPTION: A flypast from F/A-18F Super Hornets and an EA-18G Growler during the Commander Air Combat Group hand-over and take-over parade at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.





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