Fighter Family Grows Its Experts


The cornerstone of Australia’s air combat capability gathered at Newcastle for Exercise Diamond Shield 24 recently, using war-like situations to develop warfare instructors.

EA-18G Growler, F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35A Lightning II aircraft combined during March to participate in the exercise, conducting Defence of Australia mission scenarios to build Air Force’s newest air warfare experts.

F-35A Course Director from 2 Operational Conversion Unit, Squadron Leader Nicholas Reynolds, said the exercise was a key part of advancing the RAAF’s warfighting skills and capabilities.

“Exercise Diamond Shield has been an integral chapter of the Air Warfare Instructor Course and developing the next generation of tactical leaders,” Squadron Leader Reynolds said.

“They have been pushed to their limits and faced with significant problems to solve, quickly realising the value in engaging and learning from each other across various communities to progress faster than they ever have before.”

Normally based in RAAF Base Amberley, the EA-18G Growlers and F/A-18F Super Hornets were key assets in the exercise’s friendly and enemy parties.

For only the second time, all three aircraft took part in the exercise, taking the opportunity to operate out of the same base, RAAF Base Williamtown, building teamwork, agility and response times to challenging air operations.

Squadron Leader Reynolds explained the exercise provided an opportunity to learn how the Air Force, especially its fighter units, would operate in a war-like scenario.

“To have 1 Squadron and 6 Squadron participating out of the same unit precinct and flight line has demonstrated the vast logistical and coordination requirements required for such situations,” Squadron Leader Reynolds said.

“We are learning lessons, not only as a fighter unit but as an entire RAAF base, also including local airfields and diverts in the region.”

The Air Warfare Instructor Course will continue to build Australia’s air combat capability and personnel throughout 2024 to ensure they remain ready to deliver lethal and potent effects.

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