Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters have completed their maiden deployment to Indonesia as part of Exercise Elang AUSINDO 23, held at Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 

Six RAAF F-35As were deployed from 75 Squadron to participate in the aerial exercises alongside six Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) F-16s. 75 Squadron’s F-35As travelled for the exercises via Japan from RAAF Base Tindal. 

Over the course of the exercises, Australian and Indonesian personnel planned and executed air combat exercise missions including offensive and defensive counter air missions; basic fighter manoeuvres and air combat manoeuvres and air-to-air refuelling with a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport.

A new aspect to the air exercises was the incorporation of air-to-air refuelling. This was first performed between both air forces in August. 

Exercise Elang AUISINDO was first held in 1993 and is part of a series of air cooperation exercises between Australia and Indonesia that includes Albatross AUSINDO (for maritime surveillance) and Rajawali AUSINDO (for tactical airlift).

ADF’s Busy September  

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) had also successfully concluded its role as a key participating nation in Exercise Super Garuda Shield 2023 held in Indonesia in September, which was the largest in the exercise series, since the training activity began in 2009.

Host nations Indonesia and the United States were joined by Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, with more than 5,000 participating troops

The exercise culminated in live-fire training which included strikes by F-16, AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-1 Super Cobra aircraft, 105mm artillery and HIMARS rocket systems, and by tanks, infantry and other weapons systems.

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