Royal Australian Air Force personnel have wrapped up a successful month of international engagement and air combat flying activities with the Thai and Indonesian air forces.

Exercises Thai Boomerang and Elang Ausindo are regular activities on the Air Combat Group’s training calendar and are an opportunity to improve air combat readiness and enhance co-operation of the Air Force in the South-East Asia.

Taking the F/A-18F Super Hornet to both Thailand and Indonesia for the first time, No. 1 Squadron had the opportunity to spend the time training with F-16s from both countries.

Wing Commander Ric Peapell, the Commanding Officer of No. 1 Squadron, said the time overseas had reinforced the strong relationships Australia has with the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) and the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara (TNI AU).

“Participating in the two exercises has given us a great opportunity to deploy the squadron to some new locations to work alongside our neighbouring air force counterparts,” Wing Commander Peapell said.

“Back-to-back exercises certainly present challenges we wouldn’t usually encounter operating at [RAAF Base] Amberley.

“The team has performed exceptionally well, dealt with the challenges of operating away from home and learnt a lot of valuable lessons about operating in South-East Asia.

“I have been impressed by the cooperation that we have received from both Thailand and Indonesia, who have gone above and beyond to make these exercises successful.”

The Commanding Officer of No. 1 Squadron, Wing Commander Richard Peapell, greets students from the Angkasa Kindergarten during Exercise Elang Ausindo 2019. Photo: Sergeant David Gibbs

Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi, the Air Commander Australia, attended the closing ceremonies of both exercises and said that it was the perfect opportunity for him to visit RAAF personnel overseas on exercise for the first time since taking up his appointment in July.

“I have been pleased to witness the close collaboration, partnerships and friendships that have endured between the RAAF, RTAF and TNI-AU over many years, and it’s now the opportunity for our current generation to establish and grow this further,” Air Vice-Marshal Iervasi said.

“The air forces of Thailand and Indonesia have been incredibly welcoming, professional and have ensured these training opportunities have built on our interoperability as friends in the region.

“Regional exercises are all about continuing to reinforce the partnerships that we have been building over many years and we look forward to future training activities together.”