The RAAF Prepares for Its Final Year of Operating the Classic Hornet


A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18B Classic Hornet returned to its base at Willimtown in New South Wales with a brand-new paint job.

The distinctive design features black on orange tiger stripes along the dorsal spine of the No.2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) aircraft and on the inside of the vertical fins. The outside of the fins features the 2OCU Tiger head on a black background.

The new paintwork celebrates the units final year of Classic Hornet operations, primarily training pilots to fly the F/A-18A-F/A-18B aircraft.

Australian Department of Defence

December 19, 2018

USAF and Directed Energy

Air force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation conduct an experiment looking at the use of lasers and high-powered microwave against small unmanned systems.



Video by John Hamilton 

White Sands Missile Range Public Affair

HMAS Ballarat Completes First Patrol


In an article by LEUT Todd Fitzgerald and published by the Royal Australian Navy on December 15, 2018, the HMAS Ballarat completion of its first patrol in the Middle East was discussed.

Over seven days, the Australian warship conducted joint operations with the United States Coast Guard and the Iraqi and Kuwaiti navies, and carried out almost 90 vessel boardings and approaches.

Ballarat finished the patrol in Kuwait, taking the opportunity to reaffirm a Defence relationship that has existed since Australia helped liberate the country in 1991.

The Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Johnson, said spirits on board were justifiably high after the strong start to the nine-month deployment.

“The crew has trained hard to get to this point. It is pleasing to see that not only has that work enabled us to operate safely in a complex environment but also allowed us to showcase the professionalism of the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy to our partners in the region,” Commander Johnson said. 

“The team has made a strong start to the deployment and I am proud of what we have achieved. We have a long way to go but I have every confidence in the crew as we continue to contribute to maritime security in the Middle East region.”

An official reception was held on Ballarat to mark the warship’s visit to Kuwait City.

Australia’s Ambassador to Kuwait, His Excellency Jonathan Gilbert attended the event. Mr Gilbert said Australia was one of the first nations to step forward to help liberate Kuwait in 1991.

More than 1800 Australian Defence Force personnel were deployed to the region from August 1990 to September 1991. Australia’s contribution included seven Royal Australian Navy vessels and a clearance diving team.

Mr Gilbert said Australia was proud to have stood alongside Kuwait and our Coalition partners during the liberation.

“And as the 28th anniversary approaches, the legacy of liberation and Kuwait’s achievements since 1991 are ones that Kuwait and all the countries that contributed to restoring Kuwait’s freedom can be proud of,” he said.

Ballarat’s visit also provided the opportunity to celebrate Australia and Kuwait’s shared maritime and trading history.

This year marked the 80th anniversary of the voyage of Australian adventurer, Alan Villiers, who travelled by the Kuwaiti boom, Al-Bayan, from the Gulf to East Africa in 1938.

On arriving back in Kuwait in 1939, Villiers spent four months living with the Al-Hamad family in Kuwait City, photographing and filming Kuwaiti life. During this time he also travelled to the pearl banks of the northern Gulf.

His book of the voyage, Sons of Sinbad, and his photographs and films were a remarkable tribute to Kuwait’s seafaring traditions and merchant families, according to Mr Gilbert.

Photographs of Mr Villiers journey were displayed during the event on Ballarat. 

“These powerful images capture the daily lives and the hardships of Kuwait’s sea-farers and pearl divers and provide a fine tribute to their skills and endurance. It is almost 80 years to the day Captain Villiers commenced his famous voyage and I can think of a no more appropriate way to mark the occasion than a ship visit to Kuwait by HMAS Ballarat,” he said.

Ballarat visited Kuwait from 1 to 5 December 2018. During her first patrol, the Anzac frigate and her 189-strong crew operated in direct support to Combined Task Force 152, which is responsible for security in the Arabian Gulf. 

Ballarat is an Australian warship deployed on Operation MANITOU, which is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa regions.

There are around 210 ADF personnel currently deployed on Operation MANITOU. 

One Mean Aircraft


The F-35C Lightning II is the Navy’s aircraft carrier version of the new joint strike fighter now in the hands of a select few naval aviators. 

One pilot tells us why and how this aircraft is the baddest airplane on a carrier.


Video by Robert Buchwald         

Directed Energy Solutions for Counter-UAS


Air Force experimentation on White Sands Missile Range with the use of high-powered microwave and laser systems to shoot down small unmanned aircraft.



Video by John Hamilton 

White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs

Autonomous Warrior 2018


Autonomous Warrior 2018 was a major demonstration designed to examine the potential of robotic, autonomous and uninhabited systems, in support of Defence operations in coastal environments.

It combined an exhibition, trials and exercising in-service systems.

The dynamic industry exhibition provided an opportunity for industry to showcase its latest technology and capabilities, the Autonomy Strategic Challenge (also known as “The Wizard of Aus”) featured a set of multi-national scientific trials, whilst Navy and Army exercised their in-service autonomous and unmanned assets.

Held under the auspices of the Five Eyes’ The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP), Autonomous Warrior 2018 was led by Defence Science and Technology (DST) and supported by the Royal Australian Navy. It was held betwen the 5th – 23rd November, 2018 at HMAS Creswell and surrounding Defence-controlled areas in Jervis Bay, Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Department of Defence

November 22, 2018