Australian personnel have reinforced the strong relationship with Thailand as part of the opening ceremony to Exercise Thai Boomerang.

More than 120 personnel and six Super Hornets from No. 1 Squadron deployed to participate in the bilateral fighter exercise, which started on September 2 at Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Base Korat.   

The formal opening ceremony was presided over by His Excellency Allan McKinnon, the Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, alongside the RTAF Assistant Commander in Chief, Air Chief Marshal Thawonwat Chantanakom. 

“We have a long history of cooperation with Thailand and we continue to strive for innovation and opportunities that deliver value to both our countries,” Mr McKinnon said.

“That is why we are particularly excited for this iteration of Thai Boomerang, which – for the first time – includes Australian Super Hornets.

“Our hope is this will provide a new edge to the highly successful, long-running air-to-air combat training we conduct together.”

Mr McKinnon said the exercise built on a strong 12-month period of engagement between the two air forces.

“We have a long history of cooperation with Thailand and we continue to strive for innovation and opportunities that deliver value to both our countries.”

“In April, Australia’s Chief of Air Force visited Thailand and was kindly hosted by his counterpart RTAF Commander in Chief, Air Chief Marshal Chaiyapruk,” he said.  

“And in August last year we were pleased to once again see a strong level of RTAF participation in Australia’s multi-national air combat activity in Darwin, Exercise Pitch Black.”

Australian Exercise Director, Group Captain Stephen Chappell, said exercises like Thai Boomerang demonstrated the close relationship Australia has with its regional partners. 

“The focus of regional exercises like Thai Boomerang is integration and interoperability,” Group Captain Chappell said. 

“Our personnel have the opportunity to integrate in a partnered environment while building both professional and personal networks that will enhance and strengthen our partnerships into the future.

“Exercises like Thai Boomerang are also important for the development of our people and are opportunities to challenge the team in an unfamiliar and often demanding environment.”

RAAF Super Hornets from No. 1 Squadron have spent two weeks conducting air combat readiness training against RTAF F-16s from No. 102 and No. 403 squadrons.