RAAF F-35s in Indonesia

RAAF aircrew have built confidence sharing knowledge and developing tactics with their Indonesian counterparts.

CAPTIONTwo RAAF F-35A Lightning II’s from 75 Squadron fly with two TNI-AU F-16 Fighting Falcons during Exercise Elang Ausindo 2023. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photos by Corporal Kieren Whiteley.

Exercise Elang Ausindo has wrapped up after two weeks for 75 Squadron and the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) in Manado, Indonesia.

The RAAF F-35A Lightning II aircrew flew alongside the TNI-AU’s F-16 Fighting Falcons in a series of air-to-air missions, including air combat maneuvering.

RAAF pilot Flying Officer Nicholas said conducting basic fighter and dissimilar air combat maneuveres has further strengthened the partnership.

“The experience working with the Indonesian Air Force has been incredible,” Flying Officer Nicholas said.

“During Elang Ausindo, the Australians and Indonesians have been integrating into the same formations, working together through briefing, flying and debriefing all to make it as realistic as possible.”

75 Squadron was on the road for five weeks, participating in Exercise Alon in the Philippines and Exercise Bushido Guardian in Japan, before coming to Indonesia for Exercise Elang Ausindo.

This is the first time RAAF F-35As have operated out of Indonesia, a landmark milestone for the Indo-Australian partnership celebrating 30 years of fighter communities exercising together.

Commanding Officer 75 Squadron Wing Commander Martin Parker said these five weeks have enhanced interoperability and confidence within international and unfamiliar air spaces.

“We’ll be walking away from the exercise having operated this highly technical platform on the road in Asia, with limited support for five weeks, and this has given us a great sense of confidence,” Wing Commander Parker said.

RAAF fighter combat instructor Squadron Leader Paul Anderton said it was rewarding to train both TNI-AU and RAAF pilots.

“We setup the exercise to be able to share foundational air tactics. This enabled us to learn from each other in the air and on the ground,” Squadron Leader Anderton said.

TNI-AU F-16 pilot First Lieutenant Akbar said the fifth and fourth-generation platforms worked together highly effectively, drawing upon the strengths of each platform to complete their missions in Manado and prepare aviators for the future.

“The benefit of the F-35A and the F-16 flying together was the F-35A has advanced technology, which gives them much more situational awareness for the larger area,” First Lieutenant Akbar said.

“The F-16 performs very well in the medium to short-range environment.”

CAPTIONRoyal Australian Air Force and Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) personnel at Sam Ratulangi Air Force Base during Exercise Elang AUSINDO 2023.


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