The Royal Australian Air Force has partnered with the US Air Force to demonstrate the interoperability and global air lift capability of the C-17 Globemaster aircraft as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019.
In the valley between the mammoth volcano Mount Rainier and snow-capped Mount Adams, personnel from 383 Contingency Response Squadron (383CRS) were flown into Selah Airstrip at Yakima Training Center as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian.
The team, made up of airfield engineers, medical and movements personnel, demonstrated the ability to plan and execute support to multinational forward operating bases and landing zones in the United States’ Pacific North-west.
Wing Commander Alan Brown, 383CRS Commanding Officer, said the exercise was also testing Air Force’s ability to execute an aeromedical evacuation in a coalition operation.
“This exercise is testing interoperability agreements and providing opportunities to take the lead on combined airfield operations, including securing, assessing, surveying, defending and handing over. We have been utilising deployed supply chains and establishing life-support systems,” WGCDR Brown said.
Wing Commander George Hodgson, the combat support group capability manager, said the exercise gave unique opportunities to learn and train with international partners in the air and on the ground.
“It has allowed us to observe and discuss the benefits of different ground equipment that is operated at a main operating base and also in an expeditionary setting,” WGCDR Hodgson said.
“We have been able to understand the interoperability issues and come up with solutions to recognise our abilities and what each nation can bring to the fight.”
Mobility Guardian’s exercise director, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Monaco, said, “The future of warfare will be increasingly joint. This exercise is an unparalleled opportunity to develop joint-minded airmen who can integrate seamlessly with soldiers, sailors and marines to compete and, if necessary, win amidst great power adversaries.”
Mobility Guardian 2019 is set to be the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) largest full-spectrum readiness exercise to date.
Forty-six US aircraft joined aircraft from 29 international partners, along with more than 4,000 US and international Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps aviators.
General Maryanne Miller, AMC commander, reinforced the importance of the exercise, saying, “Unmatched rapid global mobility exists because of the ready and resilient airmen who execute the mission day in and day out. Training exercises such as Mobility Guardian are critical to ensuring our airmen are able to keep AMC’s promise to always be there for those who depend on us, both today and tomorrow.”
Mobility Guardian is about strengthening partnerships and improving together as an integrated team. Interoperability between US forces and international partners, including Australia, will be developed throughout the exercise by testing forces against threats faced in the current fight and future, higher-end conflicts.
The exercise will emulate the contested, degraded and operationally limited environments mobility forces face now and in preparation for the future.
Scenarios were designed to elicit a real-world feel while focusing on all four AMC core competencies: the diverse missions of airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and global air mobility support.
Personnel will be challenged to improve their skills in forcible entry, airfield seizure, strategic deterrence and humanitarian relief operations.