Independent Tribunal to reconsider medallic recognition for Rifle Company Butterworth

The independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal will re-examine the issue of medallic recognition for Australians who served with Rifle Company Butterworth in Malaysia between 1970 and 1989.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the Government had listened to the concerns raised by many veterans who had served on Rifle Company Butterworth deployments. “The Tribunal will consider whether these Australian veterans should receive the Australian Active Service Medal for their deployment to Malaysia,” Minister Gee said “The issue was looked at by the Tribunal more than a decade ago, and a view was taken at the time not to recognise their service as “warlike”. “The New Zealand Government recently broadened eligibility for the New Zealand Operational Service Medal for veterans who served in Malaysia and Singapore between 1959 and 1974.

Given this, and the concerns raised directly with me by the veteran community, it is timely that this issue is re-examined. “The Tribunal is an independent statutory body specifically set up to consider honours and awards issues like this. “I sincerely appreciate the many representations made to me and my office on this matter since I took on the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio last year. “I also acknowledge that veterans who have served on Rifle Company Butterworth deployments have been fighting for this additional recognition for years, and I don’t want this to drag on.

I expect the inquiry to be complete by the end of the year. “This will be a public inquiry and I encourage all those with an interest to make a submission before 1 July 2022.” Australian Defence Force personnel have served continuously at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth in Malaysia since 1970, when Rifle Company Butterworth was deployed at a time of unrest in Malaysia, led by the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). The MCP signed a peace treaty with the Government of Malaysia in 1989. Information about the inquiry, and how to make a submission, can be found on the Tribunal’s website: https://defence-honours-

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072.? Defence All- Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608.


U.S. Air Force Successfully Tests New GBU-31 JDAM Anti-Ship Variant

By Stefano D’Urso

Photo: The Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with the 780th Test Squadron of the 96th Test Wing and the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron of the 53rd Wing to equip an F-15E Strike Eagle at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. with modified 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions as part of the second test in the QUICKSINK Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. QUICKSINK, a new low-cost, air-delivered capability for defeating maritime threats, successfully destroyed a full-scale surface vessel April 28, 2022, as part of a demonstration in the Gulf of Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo / 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin)

The new variant, dubbed Quicksink, is intended to provide the Air Force with a torpedo-like anti-ship smart weapon.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Eglin Air Force Base’s Integrated Test Team recently demonstrated a new low-cost, air-delivered smart weapon capability intended to defeat maritime threats. The test, which happened on April 28, 2022, saw an F-15E Strike Eagle releasing a modified 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and successfully destroying a full-scale surface vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.

This test is the second experiment in the Quicksink Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, a collaborative effort with AFRL, the 780th Test Squadron of the 96th Test Wing, and the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron of the 53rd Wing, and funded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.  “Quicksink is an answer to an urgent need to neutralize maritime threats to freedom around the world,” said Col. Tony Meeks, director of AFRL’s Munitions Directorate. “The men and women of this directorate consistently find ways to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.”

The Quicksink program, which is also being developed in a partnership with the U.S. Navy, aims to provide new options to rapidly neutralize stationary or moving surface maritime targets at minimal costs while also demonstrating the inherent flexibility of the joint force for future combat scenarios. “Quicksink is unique in that it can provide new capabilities to existing and future DOD weapons systems, giving combatant commanders and our national leaders new ways to defend against maritime threats,” said Kirk Herzog, AFRL program manager.

Usually, when dealing with enemy ships, the weapons of choice are submarine-launched heavy-weight torpedoes, which however pay their effectiveness with a high cost and a small portion of naval assets being able to employ them. “Heavy-weight torpedoes are effective [at sinking large ships] but are expensive and employed by a small portion of naval assets,” said Maj. Andrew Swanson, 85th TES division chief of Advanced Programs. “With Quicksink, we have demonstrated a low-cost and more agile solution that has the potential to be employed by the majority of Air Force combat aircraft, providing combatant commanders and warfighters with more options.”

Photo: An F-15E Strike Eagle equipped with modified 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions prepares for takeoff from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 28, 2022, for the second test in the QUICKSINK Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. Developed by scientists and engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, this new low-cost, air-delivered capability successfully destroyed a full-scale surface vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. The test succeeded through a collaborative effort with AFRL and Eglin’s Integrated Test Team. (U.S. Air Force photo / 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin)

Following the test, the AFRL released a video showing the moment the modified JDAM bomb impacted the target, an old cargo ship, which was split in half by the explosion and quickly sunk. The bomb appears to explode below the waterline, exactly as a torpedo would do. It is not known, however, what modifications were added to the GBU-31 to achieve this kind of effect.

As for the weapon guidance, this particular bomb combines its existing GPS-assisted inertial navigation system (INS) guidance package in the tail with a new seeker mounted on the nose, which however is not visible in the photos released. According to the press release, the AFRL is developing a Weapon Open Systems Architecture, or WOSA, seeker to enable precise placement of the weapon, lowering the costs while providing the ability to plug-and-play different manufacturers’ seeker components.


Australia not for sale

Editor, cairnsnews


When the shearing sheds are silent, and the stock camps fallen quiet

When the gidgee coals no longer glow across the outback night

And the bush is forced to hang a sign, ‘gone broke and won’t be back’

And spirits fear to find a way beyond the beaten track

When harvesters stand derelict upon the wind-swept plains

And brave hearts pin their hopes no more on chance of loving rains

When a hundred outback settlements are ghost towns overnight

When we’ve lost the drive and heart we had to once more see us right

When ‘Pioneer’ means a stereo and ‘Digger’ some backhoe

And the ‘Outback’ is behind the house. there’s nowhere else to go

And ‘Anzac’ is a biscuit brand and probably foreign owned

And education really means brainwashed and neatly cloned

When you have to bake a loaf of bread to make a decent crust

And our heritage once enshrined in gold is crumbling to dust

And old folk pay their camping fees on land for which they fought

And fishing is a great escape; this is until you’re caught

When you see our kids with Yankee caps and resentment in their eyes

And the soaring crime and hopeless hearts is no longer a surprise

When the name of RM Williams is a yuppie clothing brand

And not a product of our heritage that grew off the land

When offering a hand makes people think you’ll amputate

And two dogs’ meeting in the street is what you call a ‘Mate’

When ‘Political Correctness’ has replaced all common sense

When you’re forced to see it their way, there’s no sitting on the fence

Yes, one day you might find yourself an outcast in this land

Perhaps your heart will tell you then, ‘ I should have made a stand’

Just go and ask the farmers that should remove all doubt

Then join the swelling ranks who say, ‘ Don’t sell Australia out!’


from Chris Long

Far North Queensland


Navy prepares for major international maritime exercise

The Navy is set to take part in what has been touted as the largest international maritime engagement activity hosted by Australia.

The Royal Australian Navy is gearing up for Exercise Kakadu – a major multinational exercise involving a host of personnel and platforms from nations across the Indo-Pacific.

Throughout the 30-year history of the exercise, participants have included the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

The first iteration in 1993 involved four navies, 15 ships and submarines, and approximately 2,000 personnel.

The launch of the Kakadu Conference was hosted by Director General Digital Capability, Commodore Andrew Willis, who noted the importance of investing in Australia’s international relationships.

“Exercise Kakadu was being conceptualised in the early nineties, when geopolitics and natural disasters presented complex challenges, as they continue to do today,” CDRE Willis said.

“Kakadu was conceptualised in the spirit of constructive diplomacy, with a genuine need for developing naval forces capable of cooperating and responding to our respective national needs.”

Deputy Director, Policy and Strategy Division at the Naval Operations Department, Royal Thai Navy Captain Chalermwut Boonchan, noted the importance of the collaboration for Thailand.

“Kakadu has paved the way for us, as a Navy, for our growth, capability and our partnerships,” Captain Boonchan said.

“It enables us to operate at a high level of readiness.

“The training and knowledge gained from Kakadu provides lessons we can incorporate into our exercises, such as Cobra Gold.”

Captain Ivan Mario, from the Royal Malaysian Navy, added: “Our participation in Kakadu provides a unity of purpose and provides a strong message of deterrence to non-traditional threats.”

This is set to be the latest of a number of international engagements.

Last month, an Indian Navy P-8I aircraft conducted coordinated exercises alongside Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft off the coast of Darwin.

The combined training, which marked the first time an Indian P-8I deployed to Australia outside of a routine military exercise, aimed to further strengthen bilateral defence ties between the Quad partners.

Activities included surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and interoperability drills.


UK’s defence agreements with Finland and Sweden set to bolster security

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Finland and Sweden to sign the security deals, amid debate about the two countries joining NATO.

The UK has agreed to mutual security pacts with Sweden and Finland, coming to their aid should either nation come under attack. The pacts also state that Finland and Sweden would assist the UK in a crisis.

According to the BBC, UK Prime Minister Johnson emphasised the “solemn declaration” between the UK and Finland was reflective of the “extreme difficulty of the times we are in”, explaining the deal was “not a short-term stop gap” while Finland considered whether to join the NATO defensive alliance, but rather an “enduring assurance between two nations”.

UK’s defence agreements with Finland and Sweden is set to bolster security prior to NATO membership.

According to William Davies, associate defence analyst at GlobalData, the agreement outlines that the UK will provide military assistance if needed, protecting Finland and Sweden during the process to formally join NATO.

“The UK’s announcement that it has signed mutual aid agreements with Finland and Sweden is a significant move for the two nations that are moving away from their previous stance of neutrality.

“Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO is unlikely to have happened if it were not for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Joining NATO will be a significant move by the Nordic countries in an effort to protect themselves from a more belligerent Russia, which has stated that it would see their NATO ascension as a threat to its own security, even though NATO is purely a defensive institution.”

According to GlobalData research, Finland is forecast to increase its overall defence spending to around $3.5 billion by 2025.

“The country is likely to fund further increases due to the ongoing threat that Russia poses.

“Sweden is forecast to increase its defence budget by 7.9 per cent over the next five years reaching $12.5 billion by 2027 – this increase will fund the acquisition of new aircraft, submarines and missile defence capabilities, which will significantly modernise Sweden’s defence capabilities,” Davies concluded.


Irish True Story

Following is an actual exchange of correspondence between a customer and the Irish Railway Company.

I have been riding your trains daily for the last two years, and the service on your line seems to be getting worse every day. I am tired of standing in the aisle all the time on a 14-mile trip. I think the transportation system is worse than that enjoyed by people 2,000 years ago.
Yours truly,
Patrick Finnegan


Dear Mr. Finnegan,
We received your letter with reference to the shortcomings of our service and believe you are somewhat confused in your history.  The only mode of transportation 2,000 years ago was by foot.
Irish Railway Company


I am in receipt of your letter, and I think you are the ones who are confused in your history. If you will refer to the Bible and the Book of David, 9th Chapter, you will find that Balaam rode to town on his ass.
That…. gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years!
Yours truly,
Patrick Finnegan.

Exchanging tactics in PNG

2nd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade

CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers provide guidance to PNGDF soldiers about creating a shield wall during population protection and control training as part of Exercise Olgeta Warrior. Story by Captain Jessica O’Reilly.

by Mike Hughes

About 50 personnel from the Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade spent two months providing training to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) to enhance stability operations in the lead-up to the country’s next national elections.

The training teams, based in Port Moresby and Wewak until recently, focused on collaboratively designing and implementing a training package alongside PNGDF from the Engineer Battalion and 1st and 2nd Royal Pacific Islands Regiments as part of Exercise Olgeta Warrior 2022.

Lieutenant Hugh Emmett, from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said it was important in the first few days to focus on collaboration and building mutual rapport with the PNGDF.

“This was an important step in working alongside and empowering their non-commissioned officers,” Lieutenant Emmett said.

“It was really important for us to support and help to build the process within training and operations cells – working out cooperatively what the PNGDF needed and what they wanted their training to be.

“Once training started everyone was really excited and receptive to it.”

Adding to the experience was the involvement of personnel from the British Army’s 2nd Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR) and US Army’s Wisconsin National Guard.

Lieutenant Emmett said the knowledge imparted by the eight 2 RGR soldiers was unique.

“They’re based out of Brunei and are experts in jungle warfare, but were also really good at sharing their skills in the urban environment,” he said.

“For all of us this kind of training with 2 RGR was a unique and valuable opportunity.”

In contrast the 12 Wisconsin National Guard members filled roles like military and civilian policing.

Lieutenant Emmett said the specialist knowledge was valuable.

“They were able to provide advice around search techniques and different ways of processing detainees and the associated paperwork, which was helpful,” he said.

“They also taught ways to escalate and de-escalate force to avoid taking a heavy-handed approach in the first instance.”

Lieutenant Emmett said working closely with the PNGDF and counterparts from the UK and US was rewarding.