Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Numerous RAAF and USAF Aircraft Heard in the Skies Above CQ This Week during Exercises at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA)

On Wednesday 3 May (Happy Birthday Me!), and on other days this week, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jets have been noted completing exercises within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).

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They have been flying up from RAAF Base Amberley in formations using callsigns such as "Cannon", "Carbine", "Colt" and "Buckshot" for the Super Hornets from No. 1 Squadron, while the Growlers from No. 6 Squadron have been flying as "Sabre" and "Brutal".

They have also been heard to fly low-level around Fraser Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile, also Wednesday 3 May, two Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and United States Air Force (USAF) have again flown North via CQ airspace before calling into Townsville.  The RAAF C-17 was identified as A41-209, while the USAF C-17 was identified as 05-5146, and they were heard to be flying together as "Charger".

Both flew up from Amberley to land at Townsville.

They were supported with air-to-air refuelling by RAAF Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A39-001 "Dragon 07" which is also pictured landing at Townsville.

Exercise Global Dexterity 2023 was conducted at RAAF Base Amberley from Monday 24 April to Friday 5 May 2023, and is designed to develop the bilateral tactical airlift and airdrop capabilities of the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Both the United States and Australia rely on the C-17A to provide strategic and tactical airlift across the Indo-Pacific region, with its ability to provide short-notice and time-critical airlift support making it essential during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Photos taken by Graham Aspinall  ©

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