Refuelling aircraft and aviators

Members of 19 Squadron fuelled aircraft and aviators during Exercise Bersama Lima.

CAPTIONA RAAF aviator finalises a systems check of an F/A-18F Super Hornet at Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth during Exercise Bersama Lima, Malaysia. Story by Flying Officer Connor Bellhouse. Photos by Corporal Sam Price.

The commencement of Exercise Bersama Lima in early October included the arrival of six F/A-18F Super Hornets and four Eurofighter Typhoons, alongside 250 personnel into Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.

Sergeant Drew Miller, 19 Squadron’s defence fuel installation, said the opportunity for the team to be challenged with tight refuelling times and working across both Australian and UK aircraft was an important one.

“For a lot of the year, 19 Squadron is focused on maintaining the facilities here for these types of exercises or RAAF operations,” Sergeant Miller said.

“It was great for the team to be able to demonstrate what we’re capable of by successfully sustaining multiple fast-jet waves each day.”

While 19 Squadron only maintains a small footprint of staff year round, its ability to surge, integrate additional personnel, and significantly increase its outputs is a key part of the squadron’s capability.

“19 Squadron brought in an additional seven augmentees to support the refuelling effort for Bersama Lima,” Sergeant Miller said.

“It was good to see the team come together and put what we practise for into play, in a high-tempo environment with a bit more pressure as well.

“The team here have really enjoyed the opportunity to work at this pace across the exercise.”

The refuelling effort from 19 Squadron didn’t end at the flightline, with chefs from Australia and the UK working together in the kitchen to deliver meals for more than 200 personnel.

CAPTIONRAAF chef Flight Sergeant Chris Baincroft and catering team member Narul Ainamadia prepare a red velvet cake for the lunch service.

Catering manager Flight Sergeant Chris Baincroft said catering staff more than doubled the number of meals provided by the mess, with the support of additional chefs from bases around Australia and the UK.

“They’ve all been working together really well. After the first couple of days to get settled, everything has been running smoothly,” Flight Sergeant Baincroft said.

“The interactions at the servery were great. People enjoyed seeing a familiar uniform, having a quick chat or a laugh. It has been great to watch.”

Exercise Bersama Lima ran for two weeks and involved more than 400 ADF personnel, F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft and C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft; Hobart-class guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane; and a company of infantry soldiers from the Australian Army.


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