Our ever-adaptable, four-legged personnel proved their worth as they provided an enhanced layered security approach for the Australian International Airshow.

Explosive detection dogs (EDD) and military working dogs (MWD) were put through their paces as they sniffed out potential threats to the public and ADF personnel and assets.

For EDD handler Corporal Jesse Smith and his dog Cowboy, the opportunity to support security operations through EDD search, which included VIP areas both at Avalon Airport and in Melbourne, was hugely beneficial for ongoing training.

“Our MWDs were also able to showcase their capability through daily demonstrations for the public.”

MWDs experienced real-time tasking such as perimeter checks around aircraft, displays and building clearances.

Corporal Smith said gaining exposure to large crowds was helpful for the dogs.

“The benefits of conducting operations at Avalon was that our dogs got to work in public areas with large crowds as well as experience what it’s like working with other agencies like Victoria Police,” he said.

“Our MWDs were also able to showcase their capability through daily demonstrations for the public.”

Given the workload and change in environment, MWD handler Leading Aircraftwoman Kimberley de Haan, of RAAF Base Richmond, said a portable kennel set-up for her dog Xara was important given the unprecedented hot autumn weather.

To help the dogs with the change in environment, their handlers also brought a splash pool along to help them cool down in the heat.

“We experienced some really hot weather, so the portable kennels and splash pool kept Xara and her mates nice and cool so they could continue performing at their peak,” Leading Aircraftwoman de Haan said.

“I was really proud of how Xara worked with the public at the show. She was 100 per cent focused on the job.”

Royal Australian Air Force military working dog Xara cools off and has a well-earnt break at the 2019 Australian International Airshow held in Avalon, Victoria.