A key Five Eyes group of air force advisers is testing interoperability across combat support, aeromedical evacuation and air mobility as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian 19 (MG19).

The Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council (AFIC) has existed for more than 70 years, under different names, with a representative from each coalition nation based at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

The Council aims to share information, training, procedures and tactics to enhance the ability of Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States air forces to work together.

Wing Commander Brady Cummins, the RAAF Lead Representative for AFIC, said the working group’s focus was on improving cooperation across agile combat support, air mobility and aeromedical evacuation (AME).

“MG19 is one opportunity to showcase the benefits of removing friction and standardising the way we complete tasks,” Wing Commander Cummins said.

“By creating mutually agreed air standards and loaning equipment for test and evaluation purposes between nations, we are confirming our compatibility to take on real-world threats and respond to crises.

“For example, at MG19, RAAF has loaned a recently acquired deployable airfield ground lighting system to the Royal Canadian Air Force and they are trialling it out in the field.”

Royal Australian Air Force airman Sergeant Matt Coubrough, from No. 383 Squadron, and Royal Canadian Air Force airman Master Corporal Jason Doucette, from 8 Air Communication and Control Squadron, set up deployable airfield ground lighting at Yakima Training Centre Army Base in Yakima, Washington State, during Exercise Mobility Guardian 19. Photo: Corporal Nicci Freeman

Additionally, along with New Zealand allies, further AFIC objectives for MG19 focus on the carraige of AME equipment and air drop load rigging for both container delivery systems and heavy equipment.

Squadron Leader Brett Goodall, the Head of Delegation for the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Air Mobility working group at AFIC, said issues arise when AME teams request to bring portable electronic devices on aircraft as they have a number of emitting functions.

“Specialist engineering approvals are required for some AME equipment when transporting via individual aircraft,” Squadron Leader Goodall said.

“This can delay or compromise AME missions when nurses, doctors and medics report to fly on foreign aircraft and items are unfamiliar to the crew or haven’t been approved.

“At the conclusion of this exercise, we are aiming to have each nation’s equipment pre-approved and detailed by all others so future missions can run seamlessly.”

MG19 is conducted by the United States Air Force (USAF) in the US from September 9-28. It provides realistic training for the United States Air Force (USAF), and other international air forces.

The RAAF will deploy a C-17A Globemaster III and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, along with enabling elements from Combat Support Group and the Australian Army’s 176 Air Dispatch Squadron.