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AIR FORCE September 3, 2009
By WOFF Chris Sinfield
IF YOU were involved with main-
taining or crewing aircraft at RAAF
Base Richmond in the past 10 years,
chances are you will have been
through the doors of 285SQN.
Established in 1999, 285SQN pro-
vides a dedicated air-lift training capa-
bility aimed at centralising the training
needs of the operational squadrons.
The unit, which celebrated its 10th
anniversary on August 24, has trained
more than 12,000 students -- an aver-
age of 1200 a year -- and shares its
history with one of the busiest eras of
operational tempo for the ADF.
CO 285SQN WGCDR Michael
Rosenthal said the unit was formed by
combining the training flights of three
operational squadrons, 36SQN (C-
130H), 37SQN (C-130J) and 33SQN
"Locating these training flights
under one squadron -- and one roof --
realised training synergies that allowed
operational squadrons to concentrate
on the job in hand," he said.
Staffing at 285SQN headquarters
has grown to include executives, flying
instructors, training developers and sup-
Further to aircrew training, the
unit also incorporated 503WG Field
Training Flight, continuing a legacy of
excellence in technical training.
The role of the Technical Training
Flight has expanded to cover many
facets of air-lift technical training,
including the full range of C-130
maintenance courses, as well as con-
fined-space entry, life support and fuel
quality control courses.
The expectation of the flight as a cen-
tre of excellence is reflected in the qual-
ity of its staff. For example, SGT Terry
Williams was presented the Rolls-Royce
Eagle trophy for 2008, in recognition of
THE 10th anniversary of
285SQN coincided with the offi-
cial handover of a major upgrade
for the unit's training capability.
The Tactical Training Capability
Upgrade (TTCU) -- started by CAE
Australia in late 2005 -- is a major
boost to the current 285SQN C-130
Hercules simulators, bringing them
up to full-mission-trainer standard.
Upgrades include better simula-
tor visual systems, the addition of
a navigator station on the C-130H
simulator, an off-board instruc-
tor-operated station, an interactive
tactical environment management
system (ITEMS) and a distributed
interactive simulation (DIS).
ITEMS allows for mission rehears-
al with ground vehicles, other aircraft
and anti-aircraft weapons, while DIS
allows the linking of both simulators
to provide training in combat for-
mation and future integration with a
Defence simulator network.
CO 285SQN WGCDR Michael
Rosenthal said TTCU allowed the
squadron to offer improved training
efficiency, increased aircraft avail-
ability and tasking flexibility.
"The simulators are no longer
just procedural trainers for crews
to practice before they fly the real
thing," WGCDR Rosenthal said.
"The range in training they pro-
vide is vast -- everything from basic
conversion of pilots from 2FTS
-- through to mission rehearsal for
complex tactical scenarios.
"By employing cutting-edge
simulation technology, we are able
to improve the training provided
to aircrew and reduce the need to
fly combat training missions in the
The range in training capability
reflects current high ADF operation-
al tempo, with the squadron required
to teach the latest tactics, techniques
and procedures used in operations.
Completion of TTCU also
reflects a successful partnership
between the DMO, Air Force and
"TTCU is a credit to the foresight
of instructors and planners, but also
to the 285SQN simulator evaluation
team, CAE simulator engineers and
technicians that made these upgrades
possible," WGCDR Rosenthal said.
Training gets a major boost
10 years of excellence
outstanding results in the pursuit of
technical or engineering excellence.
Given the ADF's high opera-
tional imperatives since the incep-
tion of 285SQN, it is not by coin-
cidence that the training conducted
by the squadron is combat focused.
Operational necessity drives the
requirement to teach the latest tac-
tics, techniques and procedures,
and 285SQN has moved with these
The unit has also demonstrat-
ed the value of employing cutting
edge simulation and computer-
based training technologies.
Changes over the years have
seen the retirement of the B707
platform and simulator, with
crew attendant training moving to
Canberra and on to the BBJ.
As the new White Paper lays
out a future path for Defence,
upgrades or replacement of most
of our air-lift assets means the
requirement for innovative training
system solutions places 285SQN
at the forefront of Air Force train-
"285SQN is at the cutting edge
and will have a unique insight into
what works now and what are the
future needs for air-lift training,"
WGCDR Rosenthal said.
LOOK AT THIS: FLTLT Matthew Campbell demonstrates the C-
130H Hercules simulator to Air Commander Australia (ACAUST),
AVM Mark Skidmore.
Photos: LAC Michael Green
FOR GOODNESS CAKE: ACW Kelli
Schneider and Commanding Officer
285SQN WGCDR Michael Rosenthal
cut the unit's 10th anniversary cake.
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