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Precision in the Skies: Black Dagger Exercise Sharpens JTAC Skills

Precision in the Skies: Black Dagger Exercise Sharpens JTAC Skills
Image courtesy of defence.gov.au

Unlocking Air Superiority through Joint Force Coordination

Coordinated Precision: Culmination of Training and Simulation

Exercise Black Dagger recently concluded at RAAF Base Townsville, marking the pinnacle of the 72 joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) course.

The exercise, spanning early November, showcased the culmination of intensive training and real-world simulation, pushing students to coordinate aircraft and ordnance in air-to-ground scenarios.

Exercise Director’s Perspective: Consolidating JTAC Skills

Led by Exercise Director Wing Commander Steven Duffy, Black Dagger solidified the acquired skills of JTAC students, drawing from six weeks of rigorous training in close air support missions.

From planning and briefing to controlling and reporting, the exercise gauged their readiness to orchestrate weapon strikes from air combat aircraft, artillery units, and ground forces in joint force support.

International Observers: Enriching Collaborative Learning

Participating units, including the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft from 4 Squadron and F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft from 1 Squadron, underlined the collaborative nature of this exercise.

Notably, international observers from the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Philippine Air Force witnessed the proceedings, fostering a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge.

F/A-18F’s Role: Strengthening Close Air Support Capabilities

According to Wing Commander Duffy, this interaction enriched overall outcomes, emphasising the significance of shared expertise and learning between participating entities.

This sentiment was echoed by Wing Commander Sean Hamilton of 1 Squadron, highlighting the F/A-18F’s prowess in close air support and the exercise’s role in enhancing collective effectiveness.

Black Dagger’s Profound Impact

The impact of this training resonated deeply with Australian Army Captain Craig Macaulay, who reflected on the course as a defining milestone in his career. He expressed anticipation of applying the acquired knowledge, acknowledging the weight of responsibility in his future postings.

Exercise Black Dagger not only honed tactical skills but also strengthened collaborative ties among diverse military units.

It served as a testament to the precision, preparation, and joint-force expertise essential in today’s dynamic operational landscapes.