RAAF and RAN benefit from joint Exercise Tasman Shield.

Photo: A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducts a flypast over HMAS Sydney during Exercise Tasman Shield. Photo by Able Seaman Joshua Bishenden.

By Mike Hughes

The two services conducted simulated air-maritime integrated missions as part of Exercise Tasman Shield, from March 17 to April 3.

Aircraft from RAAF Bases Edinburgh, Amberley and Williamtown worked closely with the Royal Australian Navy’s HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney to enhance and promote interoperability.

RAAF’s contribution included the F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, E-7A Wedgetail, P-8A Poseidon, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter and No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit.

Air Commodore Peter Robinson, Commander Air Combat Group and Officer Conducting the Exercise said Tasman Shield was an important opportunity for RAAF and Navy to enhance their joint effectiveness.

“Exercise Tasman Shield 23 provided both complex and realistic scenarios in order to challenge and develop an understanding of air-maritime integration,” Air Commodore Robinson said.

“The involvement of the Royal Australian Navy’s HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney was critical for developing and validating air-maritime integrated tactics, techniques and procedures.

“The complexity of the flying was an excellent opportunity for our people to further develop their skills in providing air power as part of the joint force – critical to our air-force mission.”

Commodore Flotillas Commodore Paul O’Grady said the exercise was a valuable opportunity to practise and refine Navy-Air Force integration.

“Our ability to work together as a joint force, both in the air and on the waves, is critical to our ability to fight and win at sea,” Commodore O’Grady said.

“HMA Ships Sydney and Hobart delivered significant air-warfare capabilities to the exercise, including forward deployed command and control effects for airborne assets.

“Tasman Shield has progressed our ability to provide a counter-air capability at sea, as well as expanding our understanding of how to best use our integrated navy and air-force assets to jointly control the battlespace.”



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