The ADF has deployed 150 personnel and 10 aircraft to Anderson AFB on Guam to participate in multi-national joint-force exercises with the USAF, US Navy, and Royal Australian Navy.
The air task unit comprises six F/A-18A/B classic Hornets, two EA-18G Growlers, an E-7A Wedgetail, and a KC-30A MRTT. The two week deployment will see the aircraft conduct air-sea integration exercises with the RAN task group which is on its way to the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises in Hawaii, as well as surface and airborne elements of the US Navy and USAF.
The RAN task group – comprising the LHD HMAS Canberra, DDG HMAS Hobart, ANZAC class frigates HMA Ships Stuart and Arunta, and the oiler HMAS Sirius – transited through the South China Sea in mid-July, before conducting sailing and helicopter cross-decking exercises with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group (CSG) in the Philippine Sea.
“Some of our most advanced capabilities including the EA-18G Growler and the Guided Missile Destroyer, HMAS Hobart, will be able to integrate in a combined air and sea environment,” Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said in a statement. “This deployment demonstrates Defence as a capable force, with an ability to conduct complex and extended deployments at sea and in the air organically and with our regional partners.”
The Guam exercises will help fine-tune the RAN’s preparation for RIMPAC, but also allows the ADF to develop its Air-Sea integration with our own and allied forces for future joint operations.
“Exercising as a joint force across air and sea allows the Navy and Air Force to understand each other’s warfighting activities, to fight better in the maritime environment, make decisions quickly and fully employ their forces across multiple domains,” Minister Reynolds said.