RAAF: Lightning Strikes Twice for the Top End

Lightning Strikes Twice for the Top End


Report by Stocky

Photos by Stocky and RAAF

Lead image: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence


June 14, 2021

The Royal Australian Air Force will deploy over 300 personnel and approximately 30 aircraft to RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal to conduct Exercise Rogue Ambush 21-1 from 15 June to 2 July 2021.

The Exercise Commander, Group Captain Matthew McCormack, said Rogue Ambush 21-1 was the final phase of the first F-35A operational conversion course to be run in Australia since the introduction of the Lightning II aircraft.

“F-35A fighter pilots from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit and E-7A Wedgetail co-pilots and aircrew from No. 2 Squadron who have deployed from RAAF Base Williamtown will face challenging training during the final phase of their six-month operational conversion courses,” GPCAPT McCormack said.

“The biannual Rogue Ambush exercises are designed to produce personnel ready to deliver air power for the joint force in peace and war.”

“Personnel will participate in high-complexity air combat training and interoperability activities with other Force Element Groups that enable us to test and practice deployment capabilities.”

“The exercise provides our new pilots and aircrew an offensive counter-air training environment to fly complex aircraft and achieve an extremely high performance of precision strike missions, airborne Command and Control and Air to Air Refuelling.”

Aircraft will operate during routine flying hours on weekdays only and will conduct a wide range of tactical flying activities across Northern Territory, utilising the Tindal restricted airspace and Delamere Air Weapons Range.

Aircraft deployed to the exercise include the F-35A Lightning II from 2OCU, F/A-18A/B Hornet from 75SQN, E-7A Wedgetail from 2SQN, Hawk 127 lead-in fighter from 76SQN and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport from 33SQN.

Aircraft noise is a vital consideration in the planning and conduct of Air Force exercises. Air Force extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to the people of Darwin, Katherine and the wider Northern Territory community for their goodwill and continued support.

© Stocky

Two F-35A Lightning II, A35-022 and A35-028 loaded with inert GBU-12 laser guided ordnance for the very first time, enroute to the Delamere Air Weapons Range in the Northern Territory during Exercise Arnhem Thunder 21. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence


Jaryd Stock on Flickr
Jaryd Stock
Jaryd Stock is based in Sydney Australia. He has been a die-hard aviation enthusiast from a young age when he was chauffeured around by his father to various airshows and airports around Australia. At his first Airshow he witnessed the awesomeness of a General Dynamics F-111C and immediately fell in love with aviation.

Jaryd picked up a camera at a young age and has never looked back. He now combines photography and writing to highlight "Downunder" aviation; especially U.S. DoD units. Jaryd uses Nikon cameras and lenses.
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