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AIR FORCE September 3, 2009
EXERCISE Thai Boomerang
continued a long tradition for
77SQN last month when elements
of the squadron returned to
Thailand for a biennial workout.
The RAAF and the Royal Thai
Air Force (RTAF) have close ties
stretching back to WWII and, for
two weeks every two years, the
allies continue to learn from each
other through this exercise series.
Working closely with the RTAF
improves the tactical knowledge
and understanding of both forces
and builds a solid foundation for
Opportunities to work with
foreign pilots and fight against
dissimilar aircraft, especially in an
unfamiliar country, are few and far
between and always invaluable.
RTAF fighters involved dur-
ing the exercise included F-16
Fighting Falcons, L39 Albatross
and Alpha Jets.
Flying sorties started with one
versus one and two versus one
dogfights. Later in the exercise,
strike missions increased in com-
plexity to involve up to 16 air-
craft in various mixes of RAAF
and RTAF formations.
To deploy to Thailand from
RAAF Base Williamtown with-
out air-to-air refuelling support,
77SQN flew six F/A-18s via
Townsville, Darwin, Bali and
Singapore while a C-130 and C-17
were used to transport personnel
and spare parts.
While in Khorat, 77SQN con-
ducted a cultural exchange involv-
ing several squadron members
visiting local schools.
The visits exposed both the
children and visiting members to
differences in cultures and lan-
77SQN also donated water
tanks, educational and sporting
equipment to the poorer schools.
This deployment provided an
excellent learning experience to all
sections of the squadron.
Joining forces on Thai Boomerang
Bryce Wade takes
part in a concert
with kids dancing
on stage during
a visit to Ban
SIX OF THE BEST:
lined up on the
hardstand at Korat
Air Force Base
Photos: LAC Casey Smith
NEWLY GRADUATED: F/A-18 pilot FLGOFF David
Doyle enjoys his first overseas deployment.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: FLTLT Leon
Cossins surveys his surroundings.
TOGETHER: Australian F/A-18s take off
for a mission.
CHECK: Avionic technician
LAC Scott Lehmann-Rhodes
conducts a pre-flight check
on an F/A-18.
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