Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft and more than 150 RAAF personnel have deployed to Guam to join exercises with the Royal Australian Navy and the United States. An Air Task Unit made up of F/A-18A Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, an E-7A Wedgetail and a KC-30A Multirole Tanker Transport will conduct advanced air-sea integration drills with five Royal Australian Navy warships. HMAS Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius are part of a Joint Task Group conducting a regional deployment through Southeast Asia, before participating in exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii. The transit to RIMPAC provides Navy an opportunity to practice joint warfare.

The E-7A Wedgetail handles battlespace management. (PHOTO: RAAF)

Training will include an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft working alongside the maritime elements, to generate an overall air and sea picture. They will also conduct maritime air defence and air combat exercises with US Air Force partners and the Australian Joint Task Group. The deployed Australian forces will also increase interoperability by training with the US forces in the region. The Air Task Unit will return to Australia in late July 2020.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds. (PHOTO: Government File Photo)

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said training of air and sea forces is an important progression in the joint force capability. “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,” Reynolds said. “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. 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.”

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