Performing as one team is essential for mission success and during Exercise Diamond Storm No. 75 and No. 77 Squadrons (75SQN and 77SQN) - both operating the F/A-18A/B Hornet - showcased their ability to work together seamlessly.
Around 130 personnel and 12 Hornets from 77SQN travelled from RAAF Base Williamtown to RAAF Base Tindal to train in Offensive Counter Air scenarios.
Flying together in the Northern Territory is different and so is the integrated working environment for 75SQN and 77SQN personnel. Not only did the Pilots fly missions together, but the aeronautical life support (ALS) fitters also working as one team to get jets in the air.
“During Exercise periods we are extremely busy getting the combat survival vests and helmets ready for up to 35 flights each day,” said 75SQN ALS Fitter Corporal (CPL) Jack Tucker.
“Normally we would have about 25 pilots to support but with both squadrons combined we are supporting up to 50.
“The workshop is packed with gear and we are working in combined teams made up of personnel from both squadrons doing both day and night shifts.
“Working as a joint team has reinforced that we all work from the same standards. Once we taught the 77SQN fitters some of the Northern Territory intricacies it really was effortless,” CPL Tucker said.
The airspace and environment in the Northern Territory is vastly different to what 77SQN pilot, Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Jess is used to at Williamtown.
Exercise Diamond Storm is her second time flying in the top end; she enjoys training in the largest airspace in Australia, and being able to conduct scenarios with high explosives on the Northern Territory weapons ranges.
“One of the most noticeable differences about flying up here is that you have to carry a pistol when conducting missions,” said FLTLT Jess.
“This is not something we do in Williamtown but it is necessary up here because, in the unlikely event that a pilot would have to eject from the cockpit, the remote wilderness and wildlife of the Northern Territory means we could be faced with a dangerous situation.
“I have really enjoyed working together, mission briefing and planning with 75SQN personnel. It’s a small Air Force and always great to catch up with mates and enjoy an extended summer!” FLTLT Jess said.
The Offensive Counter Air missions provided continuation and upgrade training for the pilots involved.