The training exercise saw the RAAF network various simulation assets across the country as part of its inaugural Air Warfare Instructor Course. It involved the networking of F/A-18 simulators at RAAF bases Williamtown and Tindal with the E-7A Wedgetail simulator at Williamtown and C-130J simulator at RAAF Base Richmond.
The Air Warfare Centre's Joint Air Warfare Battle Laboratory at Williamtown served as the exercise command centre to manage and co-ordinate the overall virtual training environment.
CAE engineering staff at Richmond supported the integration and testing of the C-130J full-flight mission simulator (FFMS) onto the Australian Defence Training and Experimentation Network (DTEN).
The company also provided an exercise planner to assist with creating and executing the virtual training and mission rehearsal scenarios, and had staff within the Australian Defence Simulation and Training Centre to assist with the provision of the networking infrastructure to support this distributed virtual training exercise.
Air Commodore Richard Lennon, Commander, Air Mobility Group, RAAF, said the exercise demonstrated the technological advances the defence industry has made.
"Diamond Thunder demonstrates the significant advances Defence has made in live-virtual-constructive (LVC) training capabilities," said AIRCDRE Lennon.
"The ability to develop, evaluate and practice tactics in a simulated environment allows all combat elements to work better with each other and assure positive mission outcomes. Increased familiarity for the RAAF workforce with LVC training will create exciting opportunities for how we develop and train our workforce, regardless of where they are based."
During the Diamond Thunder exercise, each of the high-fidelity simulation devices was networked and flew simultaneously in the same virtual environment. As a joint and integrated force, the F/A-18 fighters, E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform, and C-130J tactical transports had to address threats such as air defence systems, ground radars and surface-to-air missiles.
"There's potential for LVC training to further advance and develop, and complement the existing training that we do," said Wing Commander Jason Baldock, 285 Squadron, RAAF.
"There are a number of applications for LVC, including pre-deployment and exercise training, which are of significant value in preparing aircrew for real-world operations."
CAE's vice president and general manager, Asia-Pacific/Middle East Ian Bell said the training systems and exercises go a long way to help the RAAF get mission-ready.
"Integrated LVC training systems are becoming more critical as military forces such as the RAAF look to expand the use of virtual training to cost-effectively prepare for their missions," said Bell.
"CAE brings a great deal of experience and expertise as a training systems integrator in being able to help our customers create integrated, interoperable and immersive environments for distributed mission training."