Home' Air Force News : August 15th 2013 Contents 6
August 15, 2013
FLTLT Bruce Chalmers
PROVIDERS of permanent air-
base support for Exercise Talisman
Saber 13, 27SQN of RAAF Base
Townsville and 23SQN of RAAF
Base Amberley, were the quiet
They provided airbase support
for larger US military aircraft such
as the AP-3C, C-17A, KC-135 and
C-130J, according to 27SQN CO
WGCDR George Hodgson.
"In Townsville, support for
these assets, Australian or US,
extended to security through 2
Security Force Squadron and its
military working dogs, air traf-
fic control through 452SQN
joint battlefield airspace control-
lers (JBAC), aircraft refuellers,
Mechanical Equipment Operations
Maintenance Section, and Air
Movements," he said.
These elements were brought
together by 27SQN to ensure air-
base support for air and ground
At Amberley, 23SQN hosted
US C-17As, KC-135s as well as
the US Air Force's Contingency
Response Group and US and
Australian Special Forces.
Aviation Fuels Section SGT
Richard Krenz, of 27SQN, said the
opportunities to become familiar
with the needs of US aircraft led to
smoother operations between the
Australian and US militaries.
JBAC FLTLT Daina Sawade, of
452SQN, said the planning started
well before the exercise.
"While aviation worldwide
operates under standard rules and
regulations, differences do occur so
this close cooperation between our-
selves and the US, through liaison
and joint briefings, led to a suc-
cessful exercise," she said.
"Talisman Saber enhances our
ability to work together seamless-
ly."WGCDR Hodgson said
supremacy in air power was vital
to any air force, but that supremacy
could not be obtained without the
dedicated and professional support
of highly skilled ground crews.
"ADF and US units operating
out of Townsville had 27SQN's
support, which allowed them to
work unimpeded throughout and
helped them attain their mission
goals," he said.
Acting Air Base XO SQNLDR
Andy Weekes praised the great
work and flexibility of the mem-
bers of 23SQN and said it had been
a smooth transition to integrate
with the visiting US forces.
"It was great working with the
US Army and Air Force," he said.
"They are highly professional
and a pleasure to work with."
With large numbers of aircraft
transiting through Townsville and
Amberley, security, refuelling, air-
craft parking, loading and unload-
ing, and air traffic control, were
just a few of the tasks coordinated
by each base's airbase support and
airspace control elements.
Support on the ground
ADF and US units
operating out of
which allowed them
to work unimpeded
helped them attain
their mission goals.
-- WGCDR George Hodgson,
AT YOUR SERVICE: Aviation refueller LACW Tegan Ahwong, of 27SQN, conducts aircraft refuelling at
RAAF Base Townsville during Exercise Talisman Saber 13.
Photo: LACW Nicci Freeman
A bird's-eye view
CPL Max Bree
RAISED above the runway
at Williamson Airfield was
one of the Air Force's new
Transportable Air Operations
Perched in the tower was
FLTLT Timothy Blatt, a Joint
Battlefield Airspace Controller,
keeping an eye on the air traffic
during Exercise Talisman Saber
"We control the airspace
4km around the airfield and
4500 feet up," he said.
"We get them a couple of
minutes before landing; our job
is operating the airfield provid-
ing runway separation."
The mobile tower, one of
three, boasts six radios, satel-
lite phones, a radar feed from
military and civilian channels,
along with capability for DRN
"The Army want to get air-
borne as quickly as they can,"
"But we've got coordination
with other controllers and we
need to tell them they're com-
Things in the field took on a
more military feeling for most
of the controllers, according to
"Back home most of us work
at fixed airfields; two of us work
at Darwin so we're pretty much
civilian controllers," he said.
"Out here it's mostly helicop-
ters going out on missions.
"All aircraft are pretty much
the same [speed coming in],
except the helicopters which are
a bit slower."
RAISING THE STAKES: Commander 1 Division and
Deployed Joint Force HQ, MAJGEN Stuart Smith, visits
the Combined Combat Support Element mobile traffic
control tower at Williamson Airfield in the Shoalwater
Bay Training Area.
Photo: CPL Bill Solomou
FLTLT Bruce Chalmers
EXERCISE Talisman Saber 13 depended on
air traffic control support and none more so
than the AP-3Cs and a variety of air trans-
port and refuelling aircraft.
A combination of highly skilled 92WG
AP-3C crews and Joint Battlefield Airspace
Controllers (JBAC) from 452SQN worked
together to ensure the exercise was a raging
JBAC FLTLT Daina Sawade, of 452SQN,
said transport aircraft such as C-130Js,
C-17As and US C40s were involved, along
with Australian and US maritime patrol
"Planning by 41WG, 44WG, and US par-
ticipants minimised delays through advance
knowledge of local procedures," she said.
SQNLDR Stuart Anderson, of 92WG,
said the role of the Orions was to provide
anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine
warfare in direct support of the carrier
"Our goal was to achieve the most real-
istic training possible, safely," he said.
"It's a rare opportunity for us to practise
complex war-fighting skills and also to
exercise our interoperability skills with our
"Training in exercises takes us out of
our comfort zones and introduces us to
something that's more high-end and diffi-
cult than we are used to, in a different envi-
ronment, which is really challenging."
FLTLT Sawade said there were minor
differences between US and Australian
procedures but the joint briefings overcame
"When the volume of traffic was higher
a high level of information exchange and
liaison between the unit and visiting squad-
rons was maintained in the interests of
maximising safety," she said.
"Because Townsville is a joint user base
we continued to support civilian air traffic
throughout the exercise, maintaining sched-
ules for both military and civilian aircraft.
"Practise from higher workload condi-
tions lays the groundwork for interoper-
ability between Australia and the US and is
a bonus for those unexpected lifts in tempo
that come along."
Getting them into the air
Talisman Saber 13
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