Top-down teamwork readies aircraft for combat

As part of 1 Squadron’s rolling 12-month armament training, their armament technicians loaded AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles to F/A-18F Super Hornets during a live training activity, with a range of ordnance to follow in future training.

CAPTIONArmament technicians from 1 Squadron load an AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile onto an F/A-18F Super Hornet at RAAF Base Amberley. Story. by Flight Lieutenant Imogen Lunny. Photos by Aircraftwoman Vanessa Wang.

The AGM-84 Harpoon, an over-the-horizon missile, is just one of the combat weapons that the F/A-18F Super Hornet uses to defend Australia and its interests.

Anti-ship missiles delivered from fast jets initially proved their worth in devastating fashion during the Falklands War in the 1980s. Argentinean aircraft, armed with Exocet anti-ship missiles, wrought havoc on the British fleet tasked with recapturing the islands.

Today, the anti-ship missile is still a vital component in maritime warfare; however, the efficient use and delivery of the weapon goes well beyond the cockpit.

1 Squadron personnel train to coordinate seamless delivery of weapon loads, employing meticulous planning so RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets can fulfil their mission.

Commanding Officer 1 Squadron Wing Commander Sean Hamilton highlighted the benefits of this type of training.

“It is vital that we train to ensure that engineers can order the weapons; logistics can deliver them, armament technicians can assemble, load and test the weapons; and our aircrew can successfully employ them in combat scenarios,” Wing Commander Hamilton said.

“It’s a team effort and our success depends on each individual in the squadron being highly skilled in their own area of expertise.”

Armament technician Aircraftman Sam Field participated in last December’s training, which honed skills that reinforced the importance of every team member’s role in arming aircraft.

“Our commitment to excellence is what defines us and it is through activities like the harpoon loads that we demonstrate our dedication to the mission of 1 Squadron,” Aircraftman Field said.

“By ensuring our aircraft are combat ready, we maintain a state of preparedness that allows us to respond swiftly to any situation.”

Armament engineer Flight Lieutenant Tim Ghent echoed these statements.

“This training ensures that we can perform arming operations safely and effectively, which is crucial given the criticality of these tasks,” he said.

CAPTIONArmament technicians from 1 Squadron with the AGM-84 Harpoon loaded onto an F/A-18F Super Hornet.


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One thought on “Top-down teamwork readies aircraft for combat

  • 05/05/2024 at 11:01 am
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    Re the RAAF and its Harpoon missile. All good stuff. However considering the age and cost of these missiles, the taxpayer would undoubtedly be curious to know whether it still works. Does the ADF/RAAF routinely randomly select a sample of these missiles (war shot of course)(and other warlike stores) and fire them in a simulated warlike environment at an actual target representing say an over the horizen target, to ensure the sytem users do know how to effectively use the thing and more important, it is safe for the service to use and complies still with the manufacturers’ blurb about effectiveness.

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