Brisbane-based soldiers from the Ready Combat Team, Air Force personnel and Western Australian Police in Exmouth police have worked together to successfully defeat a simulated security threat during Exercise Northern Shield.
In the scenario, a RAAF King Air role-played a suspect aircraft attempting to transport illegal weapons, explosives and drugs into Australia, with the intent of reinforcing enemy operating within Exmouth.
After landing at RAAF Base Learmonth, the Australian Army’s Ready Combat Team (RCT), military working dogs and local Exmouth police inspected the aircraft, secured a perimeter and arrested the persons of interest.
Major Jan Koudelka, Officer Commanding Bravo Company from the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, said his team was ready to respond once intelligence came through.
“We received information from a reliable source that there was a suspected supply run coming into Australia from overseas,” Major Koudelka said.
“At the time of receiving that information, we immediately began planning and integrated with other agencies, including the Exmouth police, to ensure every single element and capability was aware of their role for the scenario,” he said.
With the simulated threat still apparent in the Exmouth area, significant military air support in the form of fixed and rotary wing aircraft assisted with providing aerial coverage and surveillance for the ground troops.
Lieutenant James Allison, a pilot on the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, said his role in the exercise scenario was to provide an overwatch air capability in support of ground operations.
“We conducted two missions daily over the Exmouth area to provide surveillance support,” Lieutenant Allison said.
“If we saw any suspicious vehicles or persons of interest, we’d report that back to the RCT on the ground, enabling them to conduct further investigations and provide protection to the area,” he said.
The entire scenario, from when the King Air was intercepted to the RCT securing the perimeter, demonstrated the cooperation and interoperability of Defence assets in conjunction with external agencies.
Exercise Northern Shield involves over 1000 troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The major activities are occurring from the 19th – 24th of September.