Home' Air Force News : July 7th 2011 Contents 8
July 7, 2011
FLTLT Skye Smith
FRESH from supporting Exer-
cises Arnhem Thunder and Aces
North, 3SQN members are pre-
paring for the largest exercise
Australia will participate in this
year, Red Flag Alaska 11-2.
Red Flag Alaska is a US
Pacific Air Forces Command-led
multilateral exercise designed
to replicate a high-end combat
Up to seven F/A-18s and 140
members from 3SQN will oper-
ate from Eielson Air Force Base
in Alaska from July 7 to 22.
CO 3SQN WGCDR Terry
van Haren said Exercise Red Flag
involved a series of air combat
scenarios that test operational air
and ground crews to the highest
"Red Flag Alaska is one of
the largest exercises Australia
will participate in this year," he
"It provides a realistic com-
bat environment in which our
Air Force personnel can show-
case their extraordinary abilities
in a coalition scenario."
Aircrew would be exposed
to large-force employment on a
scale not possible in Australia
when they perform counter-air,
precision strike and offensive air
support in packages of up to 100
"Red Flag also provides
invaluable training for our logis-
tics, support and maintenance
personnel as they are able to
practice deploying to another
country and working together
with other air forces."
The coalition exercise will
also involve participants from
Japan, the Philippines, Singapore
and Thailand as well as the US.
A 37SQN C-130J will par-
ticipate in Red Flag for the first
time, and it will operate from
Elmendorf Air Force Base in
Command joint terminal attack
controllers will also participate
in the field training exercise
In the lead-up to Red Flag,
from July 5 to 8, 3SQN will par-
ticipate in Exercise Nichi-Go
Dawn 2011, which is a bilater-
al air combat training exercise
held between the RAAF and the
Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.
Australia last participated in
the exercise in 2008.
FLTLT Dan O'Donnell
Force exchange officer with
3SQN finished with a double
bang when he participated in
Exercise Arnhem Thunder and
achieved the A-Category F/A-18
fighter pilot award.
MAJ Aaron Lapp is the first
US exchange officer to receive
the prestigious award.
OC 81WG GPCAPT Vincent
Iervasi presented his award
certificate on June 3 in front of
3SQN members deployed to
RAAF Base Tindal.
The A-Category is awarded
for "achieving a consistent
standard of excellence in effec-
tiveness of the highest levels
practicable within a particular
role and, in particular, having
displayed outstanding leader-
ship and tactical ability".
In more than 10 years of
fighter flying, MAJ Lapp has
accumulated more than 1700
hours. This includes flying the
F-15E Strike Eagle with the
USAF's 90, 333, 389 and 391
In congratulating MAJ
Lapp, CO 3SQN WGCDR Terry
Van Haren said that during his
exchange tour MAJ Lapp had
been a squadron fighter combat
instructor, B-Flight commander
and temporary XO.
"He conducted each duty
to an exemplary standard,"
WGCDR Van Haren said.
MAJ Lapp participated in
several Australian and inter-
national exercises including
Exercises Aces North 08,
Talisman Saber 09, Pitch Black
10, Bersama Lima 09, Bersama
Padu 10 and Arnhem Thunder
"His superior tactical knowl-
edge and leadership has also
been crucial to 3SQN's ability
to continually achieve its mis-
sion of delivering air combat
capability -- on target, on time,"
WGCDR van Haren said.
MAJ Lapp is return-
ing to the US where he has
been selected to serve as a
Fighter Weapons Instructor
at the USAF Weapons School
at Nellis Air Force Base in
FLTLT Skye Smith
MORE than 54,000 pounds of high
explosives, 16,000 pounds of inert
ordnance and 7500 rounds of 20mm
ammunition were employed during
Air Combat Group's annual bomb-
ing camp, Exercise Arnhem Thun-
der, in the Top End between May 23
and June 16.
Up to 21 F/A-18s from 3 and
75SQNs, along with six Hawks
from 79SQN, conducted air-to-sur-
face combat training at Delamere
Weapons Range and Bradshaw Field
Training Area for the exercise.
3SQN XO SQNLDR Adam
Loong said that as part of the gen-
eral mission scenario, pilots fought
their way through enemy aircraft,
dropped bombs, fought against sim-
ulated surface-to-air missiles (SAM)
and picked up time sensitive target-
ing with 4SQN joint terminal attack
"It has been almost two years
since the squadron has conduct-
ed a dedicated bombing camp,"
SQNLDR Loong said.
"Arnhem Thunder was a high-
ly valuable training exercise to
upgrade some of our pilots in line
with the 81WG category scheme
and also enhanced deployed opera-
tions, particularly as the unit pre-
pares for Exercise Red Flag Alaska."
Arnhem Thunder was also ben-
eficial for the squadron's arma-
ment technicians as they prepared
for missions involving high and low
drag bombs, Joint Direct Attack
Munition (JDAM) and laser-guided
training rounds, including 500 and
3SQN's Senior Engineering
Officer SQNLDR Brian Rowe said
his armament technicians were
able to consolidate a lot of weap-
ons related training, "especially on
Playing Red Air for Arnhem
Thunder, 79SQN gained exposure to
combined operations with F/A-18s,
as well as both day and night multi-
ship operations they do not normally
experience at RAAF Base Pearce.
Meanwhile, 75SQN achieved an
impressive rate of effort with the
jets during Arnhem Thunder.
CO 75SQN WGCDR Phil Arms
said: "The exercise allowed for real-
istic large-force employment oppor-
tunities with added reality being
provided with the use of high explo-
sive and ground-based SAM simula-
"This was the first use of JDAM
at the Delamere and Bradshaw
ranges in a realistic tactical sce-
nario. We also got to work col-
laboratively alongside the F/A-
18F Super Hornet, Wedgetail and
Vigilare weapon systems as we
conducted our primary mission of
offensive counter air during Arnhem
About 400 personnel from the
three squadrons participated in the
exercise, in addition to all the sup-
port staff at RAAF Base Tindal.
The squadrons also supported
Exercise Aces North, which put the
Air Force's most elite fighter pilots
through their paces as part of the
Fighter Combat Instructor Course.
Turn to the centre for coverage of
Exercise Aces North.
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Even further north, to Alaska
SUNSET CAUSE: A 3SQN F/A-18 is prepared for night operations on the flightline at
RAAF Base Tindal.
Photos: LAC Terry Hartin
WELL DONE: GPCAPT Vincent Iervasi, front left, presents MAJ Lapp with his
A-Category Fighter Pilot Certificate during Exercise Arnhem Thunder.
on a high
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