US and Australia begin Diamond Shield training exercise


A team of airmen from the US and Australia are participating in a training exercise, Diamond Shield 2017, in New South Wales.

US airmen from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, have been deployed to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown for the exercise that will run until 31 March.

The ongoing exercise is the second of four 'Diamond Series' exercises conducted by the RAAF Air Warfare Center.

More than 20 US pilots from the 18th Aggressor Squadron, along with RAAF Air Warfare Center instructors, will train and prepare RAAF fighter combat instructors, airspace battle managers, fighter intelligence instructors and fighter combat controllers.

RAAF 3 Squadron F-18A Hornet pilot flying officer Justin Nash said: “Flying against a different aircraft type takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to fall back on some of your fighter training basics.

“When you’re not in your normal routine of fighting the same aircraft type, just seeing a different aircraft type and seeing the different things [the 18th Aggressors] can replicate as ‘Red Air’ has been really interesting and quite a challenge.”

"Flying against a different aircraft type takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to fall back on some of your fighter training basics."

As part of the Australian Defense Force training activity, high-readiness forces will quickly deploy to remote locations in Australia in response to a simulated security threat.

Personnel from the Australian navy, army and air force will rapidly deploy to counter a fictitious force posing a threat to Australia's national security in the Kimberley region in Northwestern Australia, the US Department of Defense stated.

The exercise will also witness participation from Australian C-17A Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, and US F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.


Image: A USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon and a RAAF F-18A Hornet taxi at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales. Photo: courtesy of Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty.