2017 Event Review

Exercise Dawn Strike 2017
Location: RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia
Admission: Not a public event
Parking: N/A
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: Not an air show
 
USAF Thunderbirds

F/A-18A Hornet

Exercise "Dawn Strike 2017" is the final exercise in the six month long Royal Australian Air Force "Air Warfare Instructors Course 2017". The course involves Pilots, Intelligence Officers and Air Combat Officers across a range of Air Force platforms including F/A-18A Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, E-7A Wedgetail and C-130J Hercules aircraft. Conducted by the Air Warfare Centre, the aim of the "Air Warfare Instructors Course" is to graduate expert leaders and instructors capable of tactics development, validation and instruction. The series of exercises is designed to integrate people and systems; an objective which is now achievable with the introduction of fifth generation capabilities into the Royal Australian Air Force. As Australian Defence Force platforms interact, electronically, so too must the human elements interact more closely to get the greatest benefit from this technology. The "Air Warfare Instructors Course" developed by the Air Warfare Centre, has done that and each component of the course has prepared the instructors to be effective in the integrated Air Warfare space.

Graduates will provide leadership in the development of future tactics and help determine how those tactics can be used to enhance the Australian Defence Forces joint war fighting capability using fifth generation platforms. The course exercises complex war-like scenarios and the students put their newly developed skills into practice and make decisions which will shape the way Air Force fights in the future; in an integrated war-space using fifth generation platforms.

Exercise "Dawn Strike 2017" is the culmination of the "Air Warfare Instructor Course 2017" and represents the final mission prior to graduation", according to Air Commodore Joe Iervasi, commander of the Air Warfare Centre. "These RAAF Air Warfare Instructors will put their newly developed skills into practice on this final mission." The new Air Warfare Instructors returned to RAAF Base Williamtown on Friday 30 June 2017 after taking part in Exercise "Diamond Storm" which took place at RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. "The graduates will form a nucleus for tactics development which will shape the way the Air Force conducts air power in the future. Graduates will provide leadership in the development of future tactics and help determine how those tactics can be used to enhance the ADF's joint war fighting capability using the fifth generation platforms.

In this final phase of the course a total 45 Royal Australian Air Force aircraft took part in a simulated battle in the RAAF Base Williamtown area with various elements tasked as either offensive or defensive forces. At the conclusion of the attack all the participating aircraft recovered to RAAF Base Williamtown after a series of low level, high speed passes at dawn.
(20) F/A-18A/B Hornets and 2 Hawk Mk.117's departed from RAAF Base Williamtown at 6.00am while the other aircraft departed from RAAF Base Amberley. Around 08.15am Exercise "Dawn Strike 2017" came to an end.
Aircraft involved in Exercise Dawn Strike 2017:

26 F/A-18A Hornets
11 F/A-18B Hornets
4 F/A-18F Super Hornets
2 Hawk Mk.127’s
1 E-7A Wedgetail
1 C-130J Hercules

 

 

Report and photography by Jeroen Oude Wolbers for The Aviation Magazine

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