Eye of the storm

Air Warfare Instructor Course (AWIC) candidates conducted complex mission scenarios throughout Northern Australia for their culminating activity, Exercise Diamond Storm, last month.

CAPTIONCrew of a 6 Squadron EA-18G Growler aircraft taxi at RAAF Base Darwin. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photos by Sergeant Andrew Eddie.

The exercise provided an immersive training environment for AWIC candidates to undertake their mission scenarios, integrating platforms including F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, E-7A Wedgetail and ground-based C2 capabilities, C-130J Hercules, P-8A Poseidon, KC-30A and 4 Squadron combat controllers.

Commanding Officer 88 Squadron Wing Commander Stuart McLean explained that the six-month course involved training candidates to be warfighting instructors and capability integrators.

“The exercise is designed to train our officers and SNCOs (senior non-commissioned officers) to be tactical experts, to be humble and approachable with their people and to be knowledgeable in joint force and coalition force integration and tactical procedures,” Wing Commander McLean said.

“The Royal Australian Air Force loves coming to the Northern Territory, especially with such a large airspace that’s essential to conduct contemporary air operations.”

Diamond Storm is one of the most challenging training activities in the Air Force.

CAPTIONGround maintenance personnel from 1 Squadron prepare an F/A-18F Super Hornet for a mission.

This year it also included participation from the Australian Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and United States Department of Defense.

Day and night-time flying missions, including offensive counter air, defensive counter air, self-escort strike and time-sensitive targeting, were conducted from RAAF Bases Darwin, Tindal and Curtin, as well as using Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range.

Commander of Air Warfare Centre Air Commodore Adrian Maso said AWIC was a key part of how Air Force would meet the tasks directed within the 2024 National Defence Strategy.

“People are our most important capability, and AWIC graduates are world-class air power practitioners,” Air Commodore Maso said.

“The skills and experience they gain on Exercise Diamond Storm 24 gives us confidence that we can credibly respond to contemporary threats in our region, in accordance with Australia’s strategy of denial.”

New air warfare instructors are posted to units where they can instruct the latest air warfare tactical procedures as well as integrate operations across land, maritime, air, cyber and space domains.

AWIC graduates are recognised with an instructor’s patch they wear for the rest of their career. Patches are presented to them following the dawn strike at RAAF Base Williamtown.

CAPTIONA 1 Squadron F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft aircrew member conducts pre-flight checks on the loaded armament for her first mission during the exercise.


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