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AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
By FLGOFF Conrad Stalling
TAKE an F-111, a Raptor and a big
bang and what do you get? A mission
on Exercise Stone Age 09.
But while the Raptor used in this
exercise could have been named after
the deadly dinosaur variety, it doesn't
belong in the Stone Age.
The AGM-142 Raptor is a sophis-
ticated stand-off missile using inertial
guidance enhanced with 'man-in-the-
loop' infra-red optics. It provides the
capability and flexibility to prosecute
high value targets while negating enemy
The Raptor was the focus of an oper-
ational work-up period for 6SQN, which
deployed to RAAF Base Edinburgh on
November 13 to validate its skills in the
tactical employment of the sophisticated
Eighty personnel deployed with
four F-111s for the two-week exercise,
assisted by local support agencies at
Edinburgh and the Woomera Test Range.
6SQN XO SQNLDR Phillip Griggs
said the exercise played a key part in
maintaining the Air Force's operational
"Exercise Stone Age put both air-
crew and support assets to the test by
employing a complicated weapon from
a deployed location, using a challenging
target environment," he said.
The exercise wrapped up with the
additional employment of GBU-24
Paveway III laser-guided bombs.
F-111 pilot FLTLT Anthony McGrath
said the exercise provided invaluable
training for 6SQN ground and aircrew
"The experience of this exercise
was definitely rewarding; it was a great
opportunity to validate our procedures
and techniques with live missiles," he
6SQN have a blast
on Ex Stone Age
AIR FORCE has six new
F/A-18 pilots after the completion
of Exercise High Sierra, the final
phase of the Hornet Operational
Conversion Course (OPCON),
conducted at the Shoalwater Bay
and Townsville Field Training Ar-
eas.No 2 Operational Conversion
Unit (2OCU) deployed to
Townsville on November 23 for the
two-week exercise, involving more
than 150 personnel and up to 12
F/A-18s and PC-9s.
Prior to deploying to Townsville,
the trainee fighter pilots completed
an intensive five months of training,
including aircraft type conversion,
advanced within-visual-range dog-
fighting skills, beyond-visual-range
air combat tactics and air-to-surface
During High Sierra, trainees
were stretched to the limits to prove
they had what it took to graduate
as 'mission ready' fighter pilots,
capable of conducting long-range
Precision Strike and Offensive Air
Support missions with live ordnance
in complex air-to-air and surface-to-
air threat scenarios.
CO 2OCU WGCDR David
Smith said while deployed on
High Sierra, 2OCU also supported
operational exercises for Australian
ground forces. Instructors conducted
Offensive Air Support missions in
the Townsville Field Training Area
with high explosive ordnance.
"2OCU's Armament Section
(gunnies) excelled with preparation
and loading of high explosive weap-
ons for both OPCON and Army
training exercises during the deploy-
ment," WGCDR Smith said.
He said his instructors were due
for a well-earned break after a busy
year of training and a major rede-
sign of the OPCON syllabus, which
had improved graduation standards
and streamlined simulator and air-
borne training events.
He also paid tribute to his main-
tenance workforce, who had imple-
mented a range of 'work smarter,
not harder' initiatives this year that
dramatically reduced leave-in-lieu,
increased average serviceability
rates and provided long-term sus-
tainable work practices.
"The squadron's ability to
achieve consistently more than 3000
flying hours was a direct result of
the professionalism and dedication
of the squadron's maintenance and
support team," WGCDR Smith said.
"Without a doubt, the main-
tenance team's ability to develop
innovative and sustainable work
practices to maintain our jets, which
have been in service for almost 25
years, is the driving force behind the
squadron meeting our pilot gradua-
tion targets year after year."
This year, 2OCU has graduated
14 fighter pilots -- almost a whole
squadron's complement -- while also
conducting refresher courses for
COCKPIT UP CLOSE: Aircraft technician CPL Matthew
Brown shows visitor Joash Mant the cockpit of a Hawk
127 Lead-In fighter during a visit to 76SQN.
Photo: LAC Clint McKay
By FLGOFF Cath Friend
FIFTEEN members of the Indigenous
Employment Development Course visited
76SQN at RAAF Base Williamtown recently
to see how a jet squadron did business.
But instead of the main objective being to
see the pilots and Hawk simulator in action,
the tour focused on the troops and how their
jobs supported the squadron.
While touring the Fighter Replenishment
Apron, the visitors got particularly excited
about the squadron bomb program. Instead of
a quick 10-minute tour, they spent more than
an hour with the armament team, learning
about the role of the aircraft armament techni-
cian, or 'gunnie', and different weapon capa-
bilites and configurations.
The tour also took in the flightline, simu-
lator, aircraft life support section and main
OP READY: Students of the Hornet Operational Conversion Course pose for a photo during Exercise
High Sierra, the final phase of their training, in Townsville. From left, FLGOFFs Shaun Hayles, Brendon
Smith, Tobias Liddy-Puccini, Ben Monaghan, Paul Anderton and Michael Bailes. Photos: LAC Clint McKay
GUNNIE GRIP: 2OCU's AC Gavin
Dunn prepares live ordnance for
an exercise mission.
ON TARGET: 6SQN aircrew members FLGOFFs Andrew Kloeden and Adele
Merriman in front of their F-111 loaded with an AGM-142 missile ready for an
Exercise Stone Age mission.
Photo: LAC Scott Woodward
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