By Flight Lieutenant Bronwyn Marchant
This year, RAAF’s 19 Squadron played a vital role in the success of Exercise Elangaroo 22, hosting nearly 200 personnel along with the F-35A Lightning II and C-27J Spartan for the first time.
Embedded with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) at their Butterworth Air Base, 19 Squadron is responsible for the projection of air power for ADF international operations within the Indo-Pacific region.
Commanding Officer of 19 Squadron, Wing Commander Darren Prior said the squadron –consisting of 30 aviators, 1 APS and 55 locally engaged civilians – works collaboratively with their RMAF counterparts to ensure the success of international engagement activities such as Elangaroo.
“We achieve this through the sustained delivery of airbase operations squadron capabilities such as aviation refuelling, strategic communications networks, air movements, logistics, accommodation and messing, and upkeep of all ADF facilities at Butterworth, including welfare facilities,” Wing Commander Prior said.
“Our RMAF host provides major airbase capabilities including runway/taxiway operations, air traffic control, firefighting and rescue, meteorological services and base security.
“We work closely alongside the RMAF to ensure that operation and exercise needs are met – enabling the capability and strategic reach to conduct and enhance regional responses and international operations.”
Wing Commander Prior said both RAAF and RMAF look for opportunities to share ideas and work practices to strengthen mutual understanding and respect. The addition of a Tindal-based wildlife management officer for Elangaroo is a fine example.
“Exercise Elangaroo has been a fantastic opportunity to further enhance the relationship we have with our Malaysian partners, especially being the first deployment of a RAAF 5th generation aircraft to South-East Asia,” Wing Commander Prior said.
“Our 19 Squadron refuellers have been able to get up close to the F-35A Lighting II and C-27J Spartan for the first time, which is not only essential to the exercise, but also supports force generation activities to further upskill and develop our workforce.”
Published by Australian Department of Defence
In an earlier piece published by the Australian Department of Defence on 7 November 2022:
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel and aircraft have deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Butterworth Air Base to participate in Exercise Elangaroo, an air-to-air fighter interaction exercise.
This year’s exercise involves Australian F-35A Lightning II and C-27J Spartan aircraft for the first time.
RAAF Co-Exercise Director, Group Captain Ravinder Singh, said the aim of the exercise would be to test and improve force integration and combined readiness between the nations.
“Australia and Malaysia have a long-standing relationship and a history of conducting military exercises together,” Group Captain Singh said.
“Exercise Elangaroo features the return of RAAF’s 75 Squadron to its old home in Butterworth, where it spent 16 years living and working alongside RMAF counterparts from 1967 to 1983.
“This particular exercise will feature a range of modern air combat platforms integrating across the diverse and challenging geography and weather patterns of the Malay peninsular.
“Crews will use RMAF and RAAF tactical assets, including the application of strike and air control missions, to continue the great mutual understanding that exists between our nations.”
Exercises such as Elangaroo are pivotal to ensure Air Force is ready to respond, and support the ongoing commitment to regional stability within the Indo-Pacific region.
Group Captain Singh said the training and integration during the exercise would directly support Air Force’s ability to conduct operations.
“Elangaroo will further advance our capability to project air power at short notice,” Group Captain Singh said.
“The employment of a potent, integrated force requires careful planning and training to ensure that if called upon, our efforts are safe, efficient and effective.”
Exercise Elangaroo is being held from 7 to 18 November 2022.
Featured Photo: A C-27J Spartan from 35 Squadron alongside 19 Squadron’s refuelling tanker.
Credit: Australian Department of Defence
No. 75 Squadron is making history during Exercise Elangaroo 22, flying the F-35A Lightning II for the very first time in Malaysia! Exercise Elangaroo 22 is an air-to-air fighter interaction exercise between the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The exercise strengthens our bilateral partnership by improving combined readiness and interoperability between the RMAF and RAAF.
Exercise Elangaroo 22 was held at RMAF Butterworth Air Base, Malaysia from 07 to 18 November 2022 involving No. 75 Squadron F-35A Lightning II and No. 35 Squadron C-27J Spartan.