Australia integrates AWD destroyer with F-35A during Diamond Shield

LEUT Rory Tuit and LEUT Joshua Woodward from Fleet Fighter Control Element onboard HMAS Brisbane for exercise Diamond Shield 2019. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Air Force-organized exercise Diamond Shield provided an opportunity for the Australian Navy’s second air warfare destroyer HMAS Brisbane to integrate and operate with the fifth-generation F-35A fighter jet for the first time.

Brisbane embarked three Fighter Controllers from the Fleet Fighter Control Element for operations off the coast of Newcastle.

In addition to destroyer Brisbane, the air force exercise was joined by frigate HMAS Melbourne.

Throughout the exercise, Brisbane and Melbourne contributed to high-end air warfare activities which tested the crew and expanded collective understanding of complex warfighting scenarios.

Fighter controllers had the opportunity to control a range of assets including F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, with up to 30 assets airborne at any one time.

Brisbane’s participation in Diamond Shield formed part of her deployment readiness work up as she prepares to conduct weapon firing and certifications in the United States later this year.

Further integration of the Royal Australian Navy’s new destroyers into complex air environments will be a critical pathway to realizing the full potential of the Hobart-class in the future.

“Achieving the first integration of the destroyer capability with the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter is of particular significance,” HMAS Brisbane commanding officer, Commander Josh Wilson, said.

“The opportunity to integrate cutting edge air and maritime assets in a high end warfighting scenario is rare and proved an invaluable experience for the Brisbane team,” Commander Wilson added.

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