Air Task Group E-7A Wedgetail Capability Display for Coalition Forces
9 June 2016
The Australian Air Task Group E-7A Wedgetail was put on temporary display at Australia's main air operating base in the Middle East region to allow coalition partners to have a closer look at the platform that plays an integral part in the fight against Daesh.
Wedgetail co-pilot, Flight Lieutenant Adam Nelson, said that the display proved very successful and was well attended by coalition forces.
"It was a great opportunity for us to further strengthen the network between us and our coalition operators, and command and control partners," said Flight Lieutenant Nelson.
"It was especially good to meet those operating the United States Air Force E-3 Sentry command and control aircraft, as well as those working within the "Kingpin" US Tactical Command and Control Unit - between us and them we control all of the airspace over Iraq and Syria."
Flight Lieutenant Nelson said that the majority of attendees at the capability display were United States Air Force (USAF) personnel who were keen to get a closer look at the platform that they regularly work with in the air, but were yet to view on the ground.
"We've not only had E-3 aircrew and KingPin controllers; we've also had a lot of operators such as USAF F-22, F-15 and C-17 pilots," said Flight Lieutenant Nelson.
"When seeing our aircraft inside and up-close, the USAF personnel seemed very interested in the technological differences between the RAAF E-7A and the USAF E-3 – being a newer aircraft means that we have a lot more system integration, leading to a different crew operating model.
"It was a good to be able to show some of the USAF aircrew - people we regularly work with while airborne - some of our capabilities and limitations first-hand."
The Australian Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East Region (MER). The ATG comprises six RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refuelling aircraft. Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the 'KingPin' US Tactical Command and Control Unit.
The ATG is directly supported by elements of Operation ACCORDION including the Theatre Communications Group, Air Mobility Task Group, and the Combat Support Unit, whose mission is to provide continuous combat support to sustain air operations in the MER. There are up to 350 personnel deployed, at any one time, as part of, or in direct support of the ATG.