Aircraft Armament Technicians or ‘gunnies’ from 1 Squadron demonstrated their skill and team expertise at Exercise Black Dagger in the Townsville region this month.
CAPTION: Armament fitters from 1 Squadron, Leading Aircraftman Ethan Collingwood, left, and Aircraftwoman Hunter Glover, loading rounds into an ammunition loader at the bomb preparation area at RAAF Base Townsville during Exercise Black Dagger. Story by Flight Lieutenant Gerard Reed. Photo by Corporal Brett Sheriff.
The upkeep of advanced weapons systems is vital to the operations of Air Force.
This need makes the aircraft armament technician role critical. It’s a team of unique and dedicated people responsible for handling and maintaining some of the world’s most technologically advanced weapons and aircraft systems, including the F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and F-35A Lightning II, as well as working with explosives and operating aircraft targeting facilities.
Aircraftwoman Hunter Glover said she loves every part of her job, especially the diversity.
“I feel like gunnies is the one job that lets you get a mastery of everything, not just hands on aircraft, but admin and management, prep, keeping stock records – it teaches you so much,” Aircraftwoman Glover said.
“Gunnies have a legendary reputation in Defence, being very similar people and very inclusive. I’ve become really close with my crew – they are just like family. Gunnies is the best trade.”
Commanding Officer of 1 Squadron Wing Commander Sean Hamilton said aircraft and avionics technicians conduct services and rectifications to ensure jets are fit for flight, meeting the squadron’s remit during Exercise Black Dagger.
“Our armament personnel ensure the aircraft stores management systems are functional, then they build and load the bombs, bullets and missiles.”
“Our other technical trades, operations team, physical and information security personnel and life support experts all ensure the aircrew are able to execute missions in close collaboration with the joint terminal attack controllers.”
“The success of the mission depends on these experts working as a team and performing to the highest level.”