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Australian and Indonesian Air Forces trained in Exercise Rajawali Ausindo.

| 2022

Australia welcomed an Indonesian Air Force C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and crew to RAAF Base Townsville to participate in Exercise Rajawali Ausindo from September 25-29.

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Australia and Indonesian Air Forces trained in Exercise Rajawali Ausindo 01

Members from the RAAF's No. 35 Squadron, the Australian Army's 176th Air Dispatch Squadron, and the Indonesian Air Force's No. 33 Squadron on the RAAF Base Townsville flight line at the conclusion of the exercise (Picture source: RAAF)

2022 is the first iteration of Exercise Rajawali Ausindo since the COVID-19 pandemic. The last was in 2018 at El Tari Air Base, Kupang, West Timor.

Exercise Rajawali Ausindo is a biennial exercise between Indonesia and Australia which tests each nation’s air mobility capability to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, enhancing bilateral military cooperation.

This was the first year the C-27J Spartan participated in Exercise Rajawali Ausindo and the first time the exercise had been held at RAAF Base Townsville.

No. 35 Squadron Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Mitchell Beck said the two countries have had a nearly 30-year history of conducting this exercise.

“The exercise provides an opportunity to conduct airdrop training, and the practice of non-combatant evacuation operations. This allows us to share knowledge at the aviator level, enhancing our interoperability,” Squadron Leader Beck said.

“Although different in many ways, our commonality in being responsive to disaster events and humanitarian crises around the Indo-Pacific was a large focus of the exercise. We enjoyed being able to showcase Townsville to the Indonesians.”

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An Indonesian Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft taxis during a combat offload exercise (Picture source: RAAF)

The crews participated in a variety of training activities and learning opportunities across the week including a series of cooperative airdrop missions. The aircraft offloaded training loads to a drop zone, using parachutes to slow the descent of the load.

Commanding Officer No. 33 Squadron, Indonesian Air Force Letnan Kolonel Teddy Suputra, said the week-long exercise was an important opportunity for the two countries to exchange information, plan and brief together.

“It is important that we work together to deliver a safe and successful exercise,” Letnan Kolonel Suputra said.

Australia and Indonesia rely on their air mobility workforce to provide contingency responses at short-notice, and Exercise Rajawali Ausindo helps to ensure both nations can respond effectively in an emergency.

Co-Exercise Director Group Captain Nicholas Pratt said it was vital that Australia and Indonesia continue to build interoperability and mutual understanding as they are very likely to be called on to operate together again in the future.

“We are neighbours in a dynamic region where airlift capabilities are increasingly required to respond to both military and non-military contingencies, especially humanitarian crises and natural disasters,” Group Captain Pratt said.

“We look forward to Exercise Rajawali Ausindo in 2024, which we very much hope will be conducted in Indonesia so that we can enjoy the hospitality of their wonderful country and we can build on the successes of this year’s exercise.”

Australia and Indonesian Air Forces trained in Exercise Rajawali Ausindo 03

A RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft takes part in a combat offload activity as part of Exercise Rajawali Ausindo 2022 at RAAF Base Townsville (Picture source: RAAF)

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