6 Squadron circumnavigates Australia

Aviators from 6 Squadron have completed a seven-day journey circumnavigating Australia in honour of Wing Commander Stanley Goble and Flight Lieutenant Ivor McIntyre who completed the feat in 1924.

CAPTIONFlight Lieutenant Max and Flying Officer Cooper McClymont prepare to depart RAAF Base East Sale in a RAAF EA-18G Growler during Exercise Centenarie Redimus. Story by Flight Lieutenant Imogen Lunny. Photos by Aircraftman Campbell Latch.

Commanding Officer 6 Squadron Wing Commander Steven Thornton highlighted the importance and privilege of commemorating the initial flight, which was conducted in a Fairey IIID seaplane over 44 days, to survey the coastline of Australia and to open up the country to aviation.

“This is 6 Squadron’s opportunity to celebrate what was an historic event for both aviation in Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force, for us to re-enact the same path of our predecessors,” Wing Commander Thornton said.

“This was also an opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the completion of the same feat in a 6 Squadron F-111C, which was finished in record time.”

The commemorative flight, known as Exercise Centenarie Redimus, involved two 6 Squadron EA-18G Growlers and a ground support team aboard a 35 Squadron C-27J Spartan departing RAAF Base Amberley for a counter-clockwise lap of the country, replicating as close as possible the original flight path.

CAPTIONAircraftman Lachlan Burnette, left, and Flight Lieutenant Joe prepare to depart RAAF Base East Sale.

Transiting through RAAF Bases Townsville, Scherger, Darwin and into Port Hedland International Airport before continuing on to RAAF Bases Pearce and East Sale, the journey provided aviators an opportunity to engage with the Australian public and promote the EA-18G Growler along the way.

Event coordinator Flight Lieutenant Patrick McManus emphasised the unique training opportunities the exercise afforded.

“The dynamic nature of being away from our home base, particularly on the west coast where we don’t often transit with the Growler, made for some unique but very rewarding challenges in an unfamiliar environment,” Flight Lieutenant McManus said.

Growler is an airborne electronic attack aircraft that provides a unique advantage to Australia and allies by denying, degrading and disrupting a broad range of military electronic systems.

It is different from the original aircraft flown in 1924, which was chosen for its amphibious-landing capability at a time before aviation infrastructure existed.

CAPTIONFlight Lieutenant Joe refuels an EA-18G Growler.

“When we consider the stark reality of canvas aircraft with compass navigation as the primary and the coastline as a backup, we certainly have the luxury of modern navigation equipment, redundant systems and all of the accoutrements of modern fighter jets that go along with high-performance flying,” Flight Lieutenant McManus said.

The commemorative journey flew more than 10,000km in 15.9 flying hours before its conclusion at RAAF Base Amberley.

Along the way, 6 Squadron stopped into RAAF Bases Pearce and East Sale to provide incentive flights to the next generation of pilot and mission air crew trainees.





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