The Royal Australian Air Force will deploy four EA-18G Growlers to Red Flag 18-1 at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, the first overseas exercise deployment for the new electronic attack aircraft.
The Growlers, from Amberley-based 6SQN, will be joined from January 29 to February 16 by an E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft and an AP-3C Orion, plus a control and reporting centre element from 41WG. In all some 340 RAAF personnel will participate in the exercise.
“Every year the RAAF is invited to participate in Red Flag, we gain so much as an organisation in terms of how we train and also how we operate as a deployed force in a multi-national environment,” Deputy Exercise Director and RAAF Task Group Headquarters Commander, GPCAPT Tim Alsop said in a January 22 statement.
“The Growlers’ overseas deployment to a multi-national exercise of this scale, a mere year after having been transferred to 6SQN, is an important milestone for both Air Combat Group and RAAF.”
The AP-3C, meanwhile, despite its maritime ISR origins, has been used extensively overland in recent conflicts.
“During the exercise, participants will practice planning and executing day- and night-time missions, using large numbers of aircraft and ground systems, coordinated to overcome a considerable simulated adversary,” GPCAPT Alsop said.
“This includes a range of air power roles for RAAF personnel, from air superiority and strike; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to electronic warfare. It provides a comprehensive training environment for aircrew, maintenance and support personnel alike.”