Home' Air Force News : June 9th 2011 Contents 8
June 9, 2011
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FLTLT Skye Smith
THE new generation of air warfare tac-
tical leaders are being put through their
paces in the final phase of the challeng-
ing fighter courses during Exercise Aces
More than 40 jets have swarmed to
the Top End for intense air operations.
Forces are based at Darwin, Tindal and
the Delamere Range Facility.
Blue Force consists of 14 Hornets,
three Super Hornets and a Wedgetail
Airborne Early Warning and Control air-
craft. Red Force consists of 24 Hornets
and 10 Hawks.
Some of the jets are supporting Aces
North while deployed to Tindal for
Exercise Arnhem Thunder.
Aces North began on May 30 and will
end on June 23.
The course exercises selected fast-jet
aircrews, fighter controllers and intel-
ligence officers in complex war-like sce-
narios for the Fighter Combat Instructor
(FCI), Fighter Combat Controller (FCC)
and Fighter Intelligence Instructor (FII)
Five of the Air Force's elite fighter
pilots have been undergoing the five-
month FCI course that tests their abilities
as they develop tactics for a modern-day
As part of the demanding training the
students are required to hone their skills
and knowledge, with the ultimate goal of
becoming experts in the development and
execution of complex warfighting skills.
Led by Air Combat Group's (ACG)
2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU),
the exercise aims to train fighter pilots
to the highest level in preparation to lead
Australia to war if required.
CO 2OCU WGCDR David Smith
said combat air power in the air-to-sur-
face environment was a crucial role of
the Air Force.
"The ongoing training associated in
this area is essential to the maintenance
of this capability," he said.
Aces North also provides ACG with
the opportunity for ongoing training in
air-to-surface weapons delivery and tac-
tics to maintain raise, train and sustain
"The final phase of the challenging
FCI course will see the pilots put their
newly-written procedures into action,"
WGCDR Smith said.
"This is a really exciting time for the
students who have been consumed with
specialist fighter tactics and employment
for the last four months. Now, they will
put their newly developed skills into
practice and make decisions which will
shape the way the Air Force fights in the
"On completion of the exercise the
elite pilots selected for No. 31 FCI
course will have proven themselves
highly capable to lead intricate battles.
"This course has created history
with the integration of new capabili-
ties, including the Super Hornet and
Wedgetail, adding another dimension to
the already complex course."
FLTLT Skye Smith
TOWNSVILLE was alight with
high explosives as the Joint Termi-
nal Attack Controller (JTAC) course
conducted forward air control with
fighter jets during Exercise Black
Nine F/A-18s from RAAF Base
Williamtown's 77SQN conducted
offensive air support during the
training exercise, which involved
live fire training from May 18 to
22. Black Dagger was the culmina-
tion of the specialised training for
the JTAC students and provided the
essential opportunity to develop the
CO 4SQN WGCDR Stuart
Bellingham said the exercise pro-
vided important training for all air-
crew and ground crew in support of
"JTACs provide a vital link
between the aircraft and the ground
troops, providing up-to-date infor-
mation on the battlespace from
a forward position, either on the
ground or airborne," he said. "The
Above, a 4SQN PC-9 forward
air control aircraft on the
runway; right, JTAC members
staying in touch. File photos:
LACs Craig Barrett and Mark Friend
and jets busy
Hornets, left, and Hawks,
below inset, are swarming
across the skies of the
Top End during Exercises
Aces North and Arnhem
Thunder. Joining them
are Super Hornets and a
Main photo: LAC Scott Woodward
lights up Top End
modern battlespace is very complex
and there is an increasing need for
specialised coordination between
air and ground units to achieve
effective air combat power."
More than 150 Air Force person-
nel, along with the F/A-18s, PC-9
forward air control support aircraft
and Mk127 Hawk lead-in fighters,
took part in the exercise.
They used explosive ordnance
including BDU-33 practice bombs,
Mark 82 unguided bombs, laser-
guided training rounds and 20mm
ball ammunition in the Townsville
field training areas.
"The course aimed to produce
combat-ready JTAC-qualified per-
sonnel in support of ADF opera-
tional requirements," WGCDR
"The JTACs can now anticipate
a deployment to the Middle East
within about six months after grad-
uating from this course."
FLTLT Skye Smith
F/A-18s are lighting up the Top
End skies during Air Combat
Group's annual bombing camp,
Exercise Arnhem Thunder.
RAAF Base Tindal's 75SQN
has joined forces with 3SQN
from RAAF Base Williamtown
to conduct air-to-surface com-
bat training at the Delamere
Weapons Range and Bradshaw
Field Training Area for the
month-long training exercise.
The exercise began on May
23 and will end on June 16.
The Hornet pilots are
employing dry, inert and high
explosives as they practise two-
and four-ship attacks, as well
as self escort strike missions.
"Essentially, we bring a
number of fast-jet squadrons
together and we fight a fairly
complex air war," CO 75SQN
WGCDR Phil Arms said.
"The exercise involves pre-
plan strike missions as well,
where we have identified tar-
gets before we take-off.
"For aircrew the biggest dif-
ference from operating in Tindal
compared to Williamtown is
access to world-class weap-
ons ranges and airspace,"
CO 3SQN WGCDR Terry van
"We get to test the squad-
ron's ability to deploy and
operate the unit in a simulated
combat environment while con-
ducting offensive counter-air
The squadrons are also
supporting Exercise Aces North
as part of Red Force based out
See the next edition for further
coverage of Exercises Aces North
and Arnhem Thunder.
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