Aviators put skills to the test

A contingent of RAAF personnel and aircraft are testing their readiness skills and interoperability with partner nations in an exercise under way across the Indo-Pacific.

CAPTIONRAAF and USAF members work together during the arrival of a USAF C-17 Globemaster III into RAAF Base Townsville from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian. Story and photo by Flight Lieutenant Tanya Carter.

Exercise Mobility Guardian, led by the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Air Mobility Command, began on July 5 and will run until July 21, with seven nations and about 70 aircraft.

Conducted from bases including Tokyo, Guam, Hawaii and stretching across northern Australia, the exercise includes 3000 participants.

Scenario-based training will hone vital readiness skills and enhance interoperability in airlift, aerial refuelling, aeromedical evacuation, global air mobility support, global command and control, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Australia is supporting with a C-17A Globemaster, C-130J Hercules to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, along with about 70 aviators, including highly specialised medical professionals.

The United States meanwhile has deployed KC-135 Stratotankers to RAAF Base Darwin and C-17As to RAAF Base Darwin and Cairns International Airport.

13 Squadron, 23 Squadron and 27 Squadron at RAAF Bases Darwin, Amberley and Townsville are ensuring deployed USAF elements can project air power during the exercise.

Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Glen Braz said Exercise Mobility Guardian was an excellent opportunity to take part in integrated planning and execution of missions with other nations.

“Exercise Mobility Guardian aims to overcome the tyranny of distance to deliver mobilisation, deployment, and sustainment functions that the joint force, allies and partners depend on to respond to challenges worldwide,” Air Vice-Marshal Braz said.

“This year, the exercise includes elements such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief evacuation scenarios, land/maritime resupply and search and rescue serials to further enhance interoperability and readiness.

“These mission profiles directly support increased resilience within the Indo-Pacific region, particularly as climate change continues to present natural disasters that challenge us.”

United States Air Force Mobility Guardian 2023 Exercise Director Lieutenant Colonel Jake Parker said each participating country had the opportunity to hone vital readiness skills and enhance interoperability in contested and degraded environments.

“This is a proving ground for the mobility Air Force’s new status quo, tested through the application of flexible and agile concepts,” Lieutenant Colonel Parker said.

Mobility Guardian 2023 is conducted prior to Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 and, as part of the activity, will provide opportunities for the United States to deploy alongside some of the RAAF units participating in Talisman Sabre.

Elsewhere, the exercise involves participation from Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

This is the first time Exercise Mobility Guardian has been held outside of the United States since its inception in 2017.


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