Six RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets have embarked on their first overseas mission today (May 9), practicing basic fighter manoeuvres (BFMs) alongside their Singaporean and Malaysian counterparts as part of Exercise Bersama Shield 2011.
Deployed from RAAF Amberley based 1 Squadron, all six Super Hornets arrived at Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base Butterworth on April 29, and have begun BFM flying as part of Bersama Shield’s Force Integration Training (FIT) phase. Once FIT is completed, the ‘Live Exercise’ phase will then run from May 10 to 13.
“Participating in Exercise Bersama Shield provides our air and ground crews, as well as support staff, the valuable opportunity to train alongside our regional partners,” CO 1 Squadron, Wing Commander Glen Braz said.
“This level of training also aims to enhance and further develop air combat capability and high-end warfighting skills in a complex multi-national environment.”
Aside from their first overseas deployment, Bersama Shield 11 aims to bring the RAAF’s Super Hornet fleet a step closer to declaring final operational capability (FOC) in 2012.
Spearheaded by 1 Squadron’s F/A-18Fs, Australia’s contribution to Bersama Shield also includes the RAN’s Collins class submarine HMAS Dechaineux, as well as two Anzac class guided missile frigates in HMAS Ballarat and Parramatta. The exercise will wrap up on May 13.