For the first time on a major exercise No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron have teamed up to share their maintenance, logistics and administration capabilities.
The combined effort was put to the test during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.
The Flight Line at RAAF Base Darwin had a mix of nine No.1 Squadron’s F/A-18F Super Hornets and three No. 6 Squadron’s EA-18G Growlers lined up next to each other. The aircraft required around the clock support during day and night missions.
No. 1 Squadron Senior Engineering Officer SQNLDR Dominic Pace oversaw the integration and said the process was relatively straightforward.
“No. 82 Wing expects this form of integration will be a common feature of future operational commitments and will enable Air Force to extract the best capability outcomes from the F/A-18F and EA-18G platforms” SQNLDR Pace said.
The similarities between the two aircraft meant maintenance teams could easily transfer their skills and work on both.
CPL Nicholas Jarrett, Aircraft Technician from No. 1 Squadron said the two aircraft are not very different from a mechanical point of view.
“So that’s been an easy transition for us and it’s great for the two squadrons to be working together” CPL Jarrett said.
All maintenance personnel serviced both aircraft types and administration and logistics personnel conducted duties in support of both squadrons.
No. 6 Squadron Flight Line Desk Sergeant SGT Daniel Johnson said the two squadrons shared work spaces and ideas during the fast paced exercise.
"Everyone’s got different backgrounds and experiences and we’re able to rely on a more diverse workforce” SGT Johnson said.
LACW Vanessa Noal from the No. 6 Squadron Administration team said she worked with new people with different kinds of skillsets.
“You see how they would do things differently to what we would, so we are definitely gaining ideas that we probably wouldn’t have got if we had just come on our own,” LACW Noal said.
By FLTLT Tom Maclean