Air Warfare Centre launches Exercise Diamond Shield

The U.S. Air Force 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon flagship sits on the tarmac at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown, in New South Wales, Australia, March 19, 2017. Pilots with the 18th Aggressor Squadron, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, are working with RAAF Air Warfare Centre instructors to train and prepare RAAF fighter combat instructors, airspace battle managers, fighter intelligence instructors and fighter combat controllers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty)
A US Air Force 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon at Williamtown. (US Air Force)

US Air Force personnel from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, have touched down at RAAF Base Williamtown for Exercise Diamond Shield.

With a support team of about 150 personnel, more than 20 pilots assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron will be working with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Warfare Centre.

Besides US F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter aircraft, the RAAF’s F/A-18A Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, E-7A Wedgetail, AP-3C Orion and C-130J Hercules will be involved, along with Air Affairs Australia Learjets.

The start of the exercise at Williamtown on March 20 highlights the benefits of the centre’s training of air warfare instructors, Defence stated.

Diamond Shield is one of the practical components of the air warfare instructors’ course, graduates of which are experts in Australian Defence Force (ADF) capabilities and integration across the services, and have technical mastery of their own roles, platforms and systems.

Air Commodore Joe Iervasi, commander of the Air Warfare Centre, said the centre was created under Plan Jericho to prepare the RAAF for the introduction of new platforms.

“For the first time, we are bringing together different Defence units in the warfare space to integrate their roles in a process of continuous improvement to match the fifth-generation platforms coming into service,” AIRCDRE Iervasi said.

“As our platforms interact electronically, so too must the human elements to get the greatest benefit from this technology. The air warfare instructors’ course developed by the Air Warfare Centre has done that, and over the next few months each component of the course will prepare our instructors to be effective in the integrated air warfare space.

“Graduates will provide leadership in the development of future tactics, and help determine how those tactics can be used to enhance the ADF’s joint warfighting capability using fifth-generation platforms.”

Exercise Diamond Shield trains fighter combat instructors, airspace battle managers, fighter intelligence instructors and fighter combat controllers. The exercise runs until March 31.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon sits under the night sky at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown, in New South Wales, Australia, March 19, 2017. As a benchmark for aerial combat training through its annual series of Red Flag-Alaska exercises, integration of Eielson’s 18th Aggressor pilot’s enhances interoperability and ensures the RAAF can operate in a combined environment to respond to any contingency in the region and provide an agile, decisive and effective deterrent to any future challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty)