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U.S., Australian Airmen Participate in ‘Diamond Shield’ Exercise

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By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty, 354th Fighter Wing DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia, March 22, 2017 — U.S. airmen from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, touched down at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales, Australia, this week for Exercise Diamond Shield 2017.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and a Royal Australian Air Force F-18A Hornet taxi at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales, Australia, during exercise Diamond Shield 2017, March 21, 2017. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and a Royal Australian Air Force F-18A Hornet taxi at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales, Australia, during exercise Diamond Shield 2017, March 21, 2017. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty

With a dedicated support team topping nearly 150 personnel, more than 20 U.S. pilots assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron will work with Royal Australian Air Force Air Warfare Center instructors to train and prepare RAAF fighter combat instructors, airspace battle managers, fighter intelligence instructors and fighter combat controllers.

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Diamond Shield is the second of four “Diamond Series” exercises conducted by the RAAF Air Warfare Center. The exercise is an Australian Defense Force training activity where high-readiness forces deploy quickly to remote locations in Australia in response to a simulated security threat.

Exercise Scenario

During the exercise, members of the Australian navy, army and air force will rapidly deploy to counter a fictitious force posing a threat to Australia’s national security in the Kimberley region in Northwestern Australia.

As a benchmark for aerial combat training through its annual series of Red Flag-Alaska exercises, integration of Eielson’s 18th Aggressor Squadron pilots enhances interoperability and ensures the RAAF can operate in a combined environment to respond to any contingency in the region and provide an agile, decisive and effective deterrent to any future challenges.

Diamond Shield is set to run March 13-31 and will incorporate Australian C-17A Globemaster III and C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, as well as American F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.

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