Air Force wraps up training in Top End skies

More than 2000 personnel, 100 aircraft and the next generation of Air Force Air Warfare Instructors are returning to their home bases after being tested to the limit during Exercise Diamond Storm in the Northern Territory.

The exercise is the final stage of an intensive three-phase Air Warfare Instructor Course that has assessed candidates in academic and practical activities spanning six months.

Exercise Director, Group Captain (GPCAPT) Matt McCormack, said the course will graduate a strong cadre of personnel capable of integrating warfighting functions across a range of specialisations.

“It has been a very busy month at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal as we reach the conclusion of this specialist course that has tested the candidates in a range of high-end warfighting scenarios,” GPCAPT McCormack said.

“We come to the Northern Territory as it has extensive airspace to conduct military training as well as two substantial air weapons ranges.

“We appreciate the support of the Darwin community during the day and night flying components of the exercise and have tried to minimise impact of aircraft noise around RAAF Base Darwin.

“Diamond Storm has seen course members plan and execute offensive counter air scenarios using just about every aircraft in our Air Force, as well as some from the United States Air Force and United States Marine Corps, and a range of specialist ground-based enablers and Royal Air Force capabilities.

The Air Warfare Instructor Course began at RAAF Base Pearce in January with DIAMOND SEAS in a maritime-focused scenario with Navy and Army elements before moving into DIAMOND SHIELD, a defensive counter air exercise from RAAF Bases Amberley and Williamtown.

It is an intensive five-month course for a range of Air Force personnel and platforms, including F/A-18A/B Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, C-130J Hercules, P-8A Poseidon, AP-3C (Electronic Warfare) Orion, E-7A Wedgetail, Air Force Intelligence and Air Battle Managers and supported by Hawk 127, C-17A Globemaster, and KC-30A Multi-role Tanker Transport aircraft.

“As instructors, the course graduates will be required to operate in a range of environments, cooperating with other Defence units and international forces to accomplish their objectives,” GPCAPT McCormack said.

“They represent the next generation of tactical and integrated warfare leaders across the Air Combat spectrum.”

AWIC formally concludes with the return of all personnel and aircraft to RAAF Base Williamtown on 31 May for a “Dawn Strike” off the coast of Newcastle.

Dawn Strike will see the majority of the fast jet aircraft as well as the “big wing” aircraft land at Williamtown before graduates are “patched” during an official ceremony.