Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 4 Squadron Combat Controllers recently completed Exercise Havoc Drop, an annual exercise to maintain their operational parachute currency requirements. Combat controllers of No. 4 Squadron have timed their annual parachute continuation training perfectly to take advantage of the NSW winter at RAAF Base Wagga. Their Air Mobility mates at No. 37 Squadron and the Australian Army’s 176 Air Dispatch Squadron were happy to help them jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Designed to test the abilities and proficiencies of the combat control teams in core airpower roles, Exercise Havoc Drop 20-1 took place from July 13-17.
No. 4 Squadron B Flight Commander Squadron Leader C said: “The exercise was about developing the controllers parachute insertion techniques to enable them to land at unfamiliar drop zones as part of a team. Each year we look for new and challenging areas for the team to conduct the parachute training. This year we deployed to Wagga as the region provides a number of suitable drop zones with varying terrain. Conducting day and night jumps in different areas is important because it provides us with different considerations during mission planning. Many of the team haven’t jumped in this region before so they’ve had apply their skills to ensure they achieve their mission.”
The RAAF No. 4 Squadron (4SQN) Combat Control Team (CCT) has the important job of being the first on the ground to assess the viability for aircraft and personnel arrival. During Exercise Cope North, 4SQN worked with United States Air Force (USAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) to enhance the air and ground crew’s ability to work together. The RAAF CCT is comprised of Combat Controllers who have specialist skills in reconnaissance, assault zone control and clearance of an airfield. Combat Controllers provide a range of capabilities, including declaring a landing zone safe for aircraft to land, meteorology observation and controlling air strikes from the ground.
No. 4 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron composed of the air force special forces Combat Controllers, aircrew who operate the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft and instructors for the Australian Defence Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course. The squadron was previously a fighter and army co-operation unit active in both World War I and World War II. Formed in late 1917, the squadron operated on the Western Front as part of the Australian Flying Corps until the armistice in November 1918. It was disbanded after the war in mid-1919, but re-raised in 1937 and 1940. It was disbanded in early 1948, but was re-formed on 2 July 2009 to provide training to forward air controllers and to support Army Special Operations Command.