NOT known to take the easy path, a Number 4 Squadron (4SQN) Combat Control Team (CCT) conducted an airborne insertion into Bradshaw Field Training Area as part of Exercise Diamond Storm.
4 SQN played a supporting role in Air Warfare Instructor Course (AWIC) scenarios and the airborne insertion was part of an assessment for the Mobility Tactic Instructor (MTI) candidates.
Scenarios were designed to test C-130J Hercules AWIC pilot candidates on their ability to effectively evade enemy radar detection to ensure that the CCT could conduct an undetected airborne insertion into an area known to have adversaries.
CCT Leader Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) T said that to safely reach the drop zone the C-130J was required to conduct low level tactical flying causing a bumpy journey for the team in the cargo bay.
“Once the insertion team arrive at the drop zone, there’s no time to hesitate," FLTLT T said.
"When the light goes green we need to depart the aircraft as quickly as possible so that the pilot can return to an area of safety.
“4 SQN had the opportunity to conduct this insertion with quad bikes which was particularly important as it provides realism to our training and gives us the opportunity to understand and work through the challenges that might arise using air insertion methods.
“This type of scenario requires a team effort, we rely on the training and experience of everyone involved, not only the other Combat Controllers but the aircrew and air dispatchers from 176 Air Dispatch Squadron who prepare the bikes for parachute insertion and ensure our jump equipment is in good working order.
“Exercises like Diamond Storm provide us with an opportunity to work and integrate with multiple different ADF assets and understand the unique components of working with each capability.
“It is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate the specialisation of a Combat Control Team in air-land integration.”
FLTLT T said although AWIC was about supporting the candidates in testing scenarios, the experience also provided a valuable training opportunity for the team.
Once on the ground the CCT had their own objectives to achieve which included operating for an extended period with minimal external support in an austere environment.
“Realism is particularly important when we are training for high threat scenarios, like we experienced in Diamond Storm.
“In this exercise we were able to conduct reconnaissance mission profiles that supported the projection of tactical airlift and control of strike assets in a complex environment.
“This was another opportunity to work with Special Operations Command elements which enabled us to integrate land and air operations to achieve a common goal.
“Diamond Storm was a rewarding exercise that highlighted the unique aspects of Combat Control and how it differs from other Air Force careers.”