The Royal Air Force (RAF) travelled over 14,500 kilometres to work with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and provide more realistic training to the Air Warfare Instructor Course on Exercise Diamond Storm 2019.
A RAAF C-17A Globemaster transported the RAF Skyguard radar and inflatable weapons system from the United Kingdom to form part of the simulated targets set up at the Bradshaw Field Training Area in the Northern Territory.
Royal Air Force Aerospace Systems Manager, Sergeant (SGT) Nick said that when the Skyguard radar and inflatable weapons system are paired together, they create a layered defence.
“The Skyguard radar can track aircraft up to 16 kilometres away and has twin 35mm cannons with a range of 4 kilometres. In a real world scenario it would be used to protect high value assets like a hospital or base headquarters,” said SGT Nick.
“Here in the Outback, Skyguard sends out an electronic signal to the aircraft, giving the aircraft a realistic target on the ground.
“From the air, a pilot will see an inflatable tank and react to the threat from the Skyguard.
“Our equipment is simulating an adversary force that the AWIC candidates have to identify, engage or manoeuvre around.
“The role of our adversary ground force is essential to the exercise,” he said.
During Exercise Diamond Storm, both RAF and RAAF inflatable weapons systems were set up on the range and in public locations such as near to the Victoria River Highway.
Officer-In-Charge of inflatable weapons systems, Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Jacqueline Smith worked closely with the RAF and said that positioning in public areas adds to the realism of the scenario.
“We can move the inflatables daily to differing locations during the course of the exercise. This represents the relocation that occurs in real life events,” said PLTOFF Smith.
“Although they might look like giant jumping castles the inflatable weapons systems add to the complex training scenario.
“The environment of the Northern Territory means we are setting up in red dirt and hot sun. It’s been great to work with our British partner, even if we have had to run them through a few sunscreen training sessions!” she said.
Exercises such as Diamond Storm develop interoperability with partner nations enhancing lethality, and allow the Australian Defence Force to adapt and validate its own practices.
The RAF Skyguard radar and inflatable weapons systems will continue their Australian deployment and be further utilised during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.