Air-land integration displayed at Exercise Jericho Dawn
Soldiers from 1st Regiment, Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (1 Regt, RAA), 16th Air Land Regiment, Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (16 ALR, RAA), Combined Arms Training Centre and 1st Aviation Regiment worked with Air Force and contractor, Northrop Grumman, to conduct a firepower and combat team quick attack demonstration on March 18 at Puckapunyal, Victoria.
The demonstration formed part of Exercise Jericho Dawn, which showcased the potent effects of integrated air and land operations through two scenarios.
The first scenario highlighted the challenges the Australian Defence Force (ADF) faces with the sharing and translating of data, as well as the integration of new and old technologies.
New ways to improve air-land integration were then trialled in the second scenario using the Northrop Grumman airborne gateway to translate data across three separate networks.
Head Modernisation and Strategic Planning – Army Major General Gus McLachlan said greater air-land integration was an important step towards the Army and the ADF working in a joint, combined and interoperable environment.
“Our Army is focused on two key areas to ensure improved air-land integration,” he said.
“The first is to deliver better communication systems to ensure an agile, efficient and timely response to an intelligent, well-armed and motivated adversary.
“The second is to advance how we plan and conduct air-land operations to deliver the right effect, at the right place, at the right time.
“The demonstration highlights how we can better harness the strengths of our team by digitally connecting air and land platforms.
“This increased connectivity enhances awareness and communication. It gives a common operating picture, so we are better able to plan and execute joint operations into the future.”
Commanding Officer of 16 ALR, RAA, Lieutenant Colonel Berni White said improved communication networks would benefit his unit and the broader combat force.
“The demonstration displayed our ability to fuse information across different platforms and sensors,” Lieutenant Colonel White said.
“Those sensors that couldn’t talk to each other before via digital means are now able to do so through a gateway, which has been provided as part of this demonstration.
“At 16 ALR we are about air-land integration and making sure we are the glue between Air Force and Army when it comes to joint operations.
“This will allow us to more effectively and efficiently engage targets, pass that information and ensure that commanders have the digital information they require to make decisions on the battlefield.”
Operations Officer 1 Regt, RAA Major Khalid El Khaligi was the Joint Fires and Effects Coordination Centre Commander for Jericho Dawn, observing the differences between the current and future capability.
“During Jericho Dawn we were responsible for coordinating all air and ground joint fires assets in support of the land combat force element,” Major El Khaligi said.
“It is challenging to coordinate these assets over both digital and voice communications means, however, the talented soldiers, airmen and women, and officers from Army and Air Force have integrated effectively to make it happen.
“With this new technology we will be able to provide faster, more accurate and safer joint fires support in order to achieve the mission.”
The lessons from the activity will inform the ADF’s future capability decisions, and improve existing training activities.