A cohort of RAAF pilots have skilled-up to operate Australia’s fleet of Boeing-built Super Hornets.
Four new pilots and weapons systems officers have completed a F/A-18F Super Hornet operational conversion course with No. 82 Wing’s Training Flight at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
The eight-month course involved training in a broad spectrum of skills, from basics of flying the aircraft through to conducting complex tactical operations.
Three main phases divided the course:
- the conversion phase — aims to show aircrews how to fly the aircraft across all weather conditions and manage emergency situations;
- the air-to-air phase — involve dealing with aerial threats and targets utilising all the weapons capabilities of the aircraft; and
- air-to-surface phase —dealing with ground-based threats and targets.
The course concluded with a multi-faceted exercise that combined skills developed across all three phases.
Graduates are now qualified to fly the Super Hornets with No. 1 Squadron, also based at RAAF Base Amberley.
Squadron Leader Glyn Williams, No. 82 Wing instructor, lauded the technical qualities of the aircrews.
“The calibre of the trainees is very high,” SQNLDR Williams said.
“They’re very motivated, have a strong work ethic and have the ability to take on feedback and learn.”
As two-person teams, crew were required to build camaraderie.
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“Teamwork is key when it comes to operating the Super Hornet," Squadron Leader Williams added.
“Our crews work together, live together when we deploy, but most importantly we fly and fight together.”
Pilot Officer and course graduate Henry Mander noted the importance of team building.
“Our pilots and weapons systems operators are trained to be able to pick up on almost every part of each other’s job, and the expectation is that we will perform to an equal level for the areas where our jobs cross over,” PLTOFF Mander said.
“We’re able to support each other and back each other up in everything we do.”