EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Sometimes it’s good to be bad, and in world of an Aggressor pilot, being the best bad guy is an essential part of their daily operations.
The 18th Aggressor Squadron based out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, recently participated in Diamond Shield 2019 in Australia to train alongside Royal Australian Air Force partners.
“The Aggressor motto is to ‘know, teach, replicate,’” said Capt. Travis Worden, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with the 18th AGRS. “Everything we do on the ground and in the air serves to meet that end. We pride ourselves on having a robust knowledge of adversary threats and tactics so it can manifest itself airborne to make both the United States and its allies better.”
Armed with ‘Red Air’ tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as an F-16, Worden and his fellow Aggressors took to the skies above RAAF Williamtown to fly alongside the Royal Australian Air Force during Diamond Shield 2019.
The exercise is part of the RAAF’s six-month Air Warfare Instructor Course which is designed to teach fighter pilots essential tactical skills and develop them into the next generation of RAAF combat leaders.
During Diamond Shield, like they do every exercise, the Aggressors challenged the students through various scenarios specifically designed to test their tactical skills.
“Working with the 18th AGRS has been really amazing,” said Flight Lieutenant Brice “Wooly,” a RAAF F-18 Hornet pilot and AWIC candidate. “The challenges they have brought in our training evolution has been very beneficial for our overall development.”
Through their lens, Aggressors see a different side of the fight and of the other pilots. They’re able to see individuals overcome challenges and tests day after day, and watch teams strengthen as they work together.
“Probably the biggest lesson we learned working with the 18 AGRS was about integration,” said Brice. “The challenges they have provided have been extremely difficult to solve, and there’s no way any individual or one platform could solve them; so we need to work as a team to overcome those challenges.”
At the end of the day when the AGRS pilots climb out of the cockpit, they are the good guys again and they are rooting for the RAAF pilots to succeed.
“When it comes to tactical flying it has been inspiring seeing the level of proficiency these aviators have for their course,” said Worden. “As an Aggressor even though my team may be losing, we are all better as a result.”
The F-16 Fighting Falcons took part in Diamond Shield under the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) initiative. Through greater collaboration and training, EAC aims to strengthen the ability of the Australian Defence Force and US force elements to work together and provide opportunities to extend our combined technical skills and logistics training.