Home' Air Force News : July 8th 2010 Contents 14 Centrepiece
Six graduates showed during
Exercise High Sierra 1-10
that they have what it takes to
become fighter pilots.
FLTLT Daniel O'Donnell,
LEUT Todd Woodford, FLGOFF
Jarrin Coombes, FLGOFF Timothy
Venz, PLTOFF Michael Keightley and
PLTOFF Adam Rouessart graduated
from 2 Operational Conversion Unit
(2OCU) after participating in the exer-
They were among 150 personnel
who deployed to Townsville from June
14 to July 1 for High Sierra, which
was the final phase of the F/A-18
Conversion course (OPCON) for the
CO 2OCU WGCDR David Smith
said that before deploying to High
Sierra the graduates had completed an
intensive five months of training.
"This included conversion on to the
F/A-18, advanced within-visual-range
dog-fighting skills, beyond-visual-range
air combat tactics and air-to-surface
attacks," he said.
During the exercise, the graduates
conducted long-range Precision Strike
and Offensive Air Support missions
with live ordnance in complex air-to-air
and surface-to-air threat scenarios.
The students put their new skills to
the test as they demonstrated profi-
ciency with dropping a range of prac-
tice weapons and laser-guided training
rounds as a precursor to conducting
missions with high explosive ordnance,
such as the Mk-82 500lb Snake-eye
bomb, Mk-83 1000lb bomb and GBU-
12 500lb laser-guided bomb.
2OCU has deployed F/A-18s to
Townsville for High Sierra for more than
The Townsville Field Training Area
and high explosive ordnance weapons
ranges are used for the exercise, which
enables the OPCON to conduct a wide
variety of realistic air-to-air and air-to-
ground training missions with maximum
reality and effectiveness.
WGCDR Smith said the ultimate
aim of High Sierra was for graduates
to demonstrate that they have what
it takes to perform the role of a front-
line operational fighter pilot capable
of employing the F/A-18 in all tactical
"The deployment also allows the
squadron to exercise Air Combat
Group's deployment capabilities, takes
the students out of their regular train-
ing environment and enables them to
experience life in a fighter squadron on
deployed war-like training missions,"
WGCDR Smith said.
4SQN and 76SQN also deployed
elements to Townsville to provide sup-
port for High Sierra training missions.
Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from
4SQN provided Forward Air Control for
the OPCON's Offensive Air Support
missions, as well as airborne range
safety officer duties.
Four Hawk 127 aircraft from 76SQN
also deployed to provide adversaries
against OPCON long-range strike mis-
2OCU conducts an OPCON for six
to eight students every six months and
a Fighter Combat Instructor course
every two years.
"The squadron's ability to gener-
ate more than 3000 flying hours every
year allows the squadron to maintain a
relentless fighter pilot training regime,"
WGCDR Smith said.
"The dedication, professionalism,
leadership and teamwork of the squad-
ron's maintenance and support team
are fundamental to the success of
2OCU achieving its training objectives."
He said 2OCU's ma
force had implemented
smarter, not harder' in
dramatically reduced l
increased average ser
and provided long-term
"Without a doubt, th
team's ability to develo
sustainable work pract
ate and maintain our je
been in service for alm
the driving force behin
meeting our fighter pilo
targets year after year
He said the OPCON
ing yet immensely rew
training course and the
of dedication and hard
rons, 3SQN, 75SQN a
each receive two of the
Our newest fast-jet pilots are put to the test in Townsville on Exercise High
4SQN FORM: Three
PC-9 Forward Air
Control aircraft from
4SQN fly in formation
during the exercise.
ROSTERED: Above, 4SQN OPSO OFFCDT Pat O'Neill
updates the flying roster during Exercise High Sierra.
BOMBS AWAY: Right, 2OCU armament fitter AC Dylan
Williamson makes sure the bombs are secured correctly.
PC-9 FLAIR: Left, 4SQN avionic technician CPL Sean
Campbell checks for any chips along the propeller of a PC-9
MAPPED OUT: Above, 2OCU OPCON
Venz finalises his flight plans during th
LOADING UP: Left, 4SQN aircraft tech
Marshall reloads smoke canisters on to
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