NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Officers and Airmen from the Royal Australian Air Force’s Number 2 Squadron Airborne Early Warning and Control, from Base Williamtown located on the southeastern coastal city of Newcastle in New South Wales Australia traveled more than 7,700 miles to participate in Red Flag 13-3.
This is the first time the squadron and the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft have participated in a Red Flag exercise.
The No. 2 Squadron’s participation in Red Flag is a significant milestone in the development of the E-7A’s capability as it continues a transition towards full operational capability by completing critical tasks to ensure it is capable of accomplishing command and control battle management mission requirements.
The exterior design of the E-7A is based on the Boeing 737-700 commercial airplane. The aircraft is modified to accommodate sophisticated mission systems and advanced multi-role radar to increase Australia’s surveillance and air combat capability by providing increased capabilities to support Australian Defence Force assets in all joint arenas and assist in civil operations such as border protection and search and rescue missions
In the case of conflict, the aircraft can be employed in both offensive and defensive roles to support a variety of military fighters, electronic jammer, anti-radiation missile equipped and other Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.
“The E-7A Wedgetail is a major new capability for the Australian Defence Force, which will significantly multiply the effectiveness of our existing navy, army, [and] air force assets well into the future,” said Wing Commander Paul Carpenter, No. 2 Squadron commander. “This will ensure Australia maintains its reputation as a world-class air force, allowing us to provide for the self-defense of Australia and fulfill our role as a close coalition partner.”
During the three week-long exercise the No. 2 Squadron will fly their aircraft twice daily in the skies above the Nevada Test and Training Range to get a real-time picture of the battle-space and to integrate command and control battle management.
“Both Wedgetails have been behaving well,” said Flt. Lt. Scott Harvey, flight line superintendent. “From a maintenance perspective, the exercise has given the guys an increased rate of effort to see how the aircraft performs in a realistic environment and giving us access to [aircraft] equipment to practice on as well.”
“The Red Flag exercise forms part of the regular cycle of Australia’s air combat and surveillance training for Surveillance and Response Group personnel,” Carpenter added. “This opportunity allows for Surveillance and Response Group members to hone their particular skill sets in close proximity to our major allies at one of the world’s best air combat training facilities.”
Red Flag provides complex aviation combat training at a level not available in Australia.
“It is essential our people are trained at this level to ensure they are able to effectively operate and integrate the Wedgetail’s highly technical equipment in a complex air warfare environment with coalition partners,” Carpenter said.
“We are giving 100 percent daily, but the exercise is giving us 150 percent in return.”