Joint battle airspace controllers prepared for EX NORTHERN SHIELD 2015
23 September 2015
Joint Battlefield Airspace Controllers (JBAC) deployed to Air Force Base Learmonth, near Exmouth, Western Australia to prepare for their role in Exercise Northern Shield 2015.
Exercise Northern Shield saw a number of military aircraft operate out of the Air Force base which shared the airspace with civilian aircraft for the duration of the exercise.
Flight Lieutenant Lachlan Lawrence, a Joint Battle Airspace Controller from 453 Squadron in Pearce, WA, took to the air to prepare and familiarise himself with the landscape around Exmouth.
"We went up for a flight in an Air Force King Air which helped us get an aerial perspective of the operating area," Flight Lieutenant Lawrence said.
"We identified the Exmouth town ship itself and one of the communication centres as highly visible landmarks," he said.
RAAF Learmonth operates with minimal navigational aids, adding an extra challenge to the role for the JBAC.
"This airfield doesn’t have any of the radars or navigation equipment that other airports have which assist us in doing our job of directing aircraft," Flight Lieutenant Lawrence said.
"In a situation like that, it was important that we identified a few landmarks within the airspace so the pilots could inform us of their location," he said.
RAAF Base Learmonth was home to increased air activity for the duration of the exercise so there was a priority to keep things as normal as possible for the locals.
"We aimed to minimise the potential disruption of the normal, everyday flights that operated into Learmonth," Flight Lieutenant Lawrence said.
"It was very important for our impact in the area to be as minimal as possible," he said.
This was the first time Exercise Northern Shield took place and was an Australian Defence Force (ADF) training activity where high-readiness forces deployed quickly to North Western Australia in response to a simulated security threat.