Wing Training Flight Training flight trial launched at Amberley: The No. 82 Wing Training Flight (82TF), based at RAAF Base Amberley, has started aircrew operational conversion training in the Super Hornet aircraft in Australia. Commanding Officer of 82TF, 82 Wing Executive Officer Wing Commander Trevor Andrews, said the launch of the trial was an important milestone for the Air Combat Group. “Operational conversion training had been conducted with United States Navy since 2015,” Andrews said. “This program will enable No. 82 Wing to provide enduring aircrew training for the entire capability spectrum required for the F/A-18F. We expect significant advantages to be realised through an Australian-based operational conversion, such as improved delivery of Australian-trained aircrew back into the squadrons, increased standardisation, reduction in duplicate training overheads and increased alignment to Australian graduation requirements. The training will provide a sustainable flying training solution supported by six F/A-18F aircraft and a mixed maintenance workforce of contracted and uniformed members. The challenges of international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic have also meant the timing of the trial has been extremely beneficial for workforce sustainment and capability.” 82TF is a partnership arrangement between Air Force and Boeing Defence Australia’s Air Combat Electronic Attack sustainment programme. Under the arrangement, Boeing provides the operational maintenance to the fleet of six Super Hornets under the existing Air Combat Electronic Attack sustainment contract. Ten uniformed RAAF technicians are also embedded within Boeing’s maintenance personnel, thereby building the workforce strength of both organisations.

Wing Training Flight First Australian F-35A reaches 1,000 hours: The first Australian F-35A aircraft to roll off Lockheed Martin’s Texas production line back in 2014 has completed 1,000 flying hours over the skies of Arizona. Australian F-35A pilot Flight Lieutenant Adrian Herenda was at the controls of A35-001 as the clock ticked over 1,000 hours. The former F/A-18A pilot has been flying the F-35A for about 12 months and said it was a good feeling to be flying the jet when it reached the milestone. “The F-35A provides the pilot with phenomenal situational awareness, which is a significant benefit when operating in complex threat environments,” Herenda said. Aircraft A35-001 is currently being operated by the international Pilot Training Centre (PTC) at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in the US as part of a pool of training aircraft qualifying F-35A pilots and maintainers from across the globe. Director General Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air Commodore Damien Keddie said A35-001 reaching 1,000 flying hours was an important achievement for the Australian F-35A Project. “It demonstrates the maturity of our F-35A capability and showcases the importance of the international F-35 partnership,” Keddie said. Australia has now accepted 26 F-35A aircraft in total. In addition to the five at the PTC, 17 are operating at No. 3 Squadron and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown. The remaining four jets are scheduled to transit from the US to Australia before August. This is the final year of the RAAF’s contribution to the PTC. From 2021, all F-35 training is planned to be conducted in Australia.

Wing Training Flight Australian Peacekeepers in South Sudan: Nineteen Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed on Operation Aslan, which is Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Australian Contingent Commander Colonel Mark Coyle said the ADF personnel were spread across the two UN bases in the capital city, Juba. “Our purpose is to fulfil the mandate directed by the UN Security Council to protect civilians, support the peace process, support delivery of humanitarian aid and report human rights abuses,” Coyle said. “The conflict in South Sudan has given rise to humanitarian and security crises including significant population displacement, food insecurity and criminality.” According to Coyle, a fragile peace holds with the formation of a national government in which most of the warring parties are represented. “Elections are scheduled in three years and there is hope that the nation’s civil war will be over,” Coyle said. Key positions held by the ADF include roles as military liaison officers, in operations, aviation and logistic support. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is the UN’s largest peacekeeping mission, comprising more than 16,000 personnel with an annual budget of US$1.3 billion.

Wing Training Flight Israel Aerospace Industries develops model for COVID-19 progression: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed a model that predicts the progression of the medical status of COVID-19 patients with artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning technologies. The model was built utilising data from the Sheba Medical Centre. The predictive capabilities can alert medical staff on the possible deterioration in the patient’s condition, thus enhancing patient care and flagging the cases with higher chances of medical escalation and significantly improving the patient outcome. The model was developed by researchers and engineers at IAI’s Innovation Centre in the company’s Systems Missiles and Space Group. Dr Einat Klein, chief innovation engineer at IAI’s Systems Missile and Space Group, said: “IAI makes extensive use of tools such as machine learning, big data and AI as part of its routine operations. The innovation team of our group, which specialises in missiles and satellites, has leveraged its know-how experience to help medical staffs predict patients’ conditions. In this way, physicians can provide better treatment to COVID-19 patients at the hospital. IAI joined the battle against COVID-19 with multiple technologies developed over the past few weeks. These technologies help the medical professionals, the patients, and the hospitals. We plan to continue helping the healthcare system in line with the changing needs.

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