The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) successfully completed Exercise Thai Boomerang 23, a bilateral fighter jet exercise that focused on enhancing interoperability between the two forces. The exercise was held at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand from 24 August to 1 September 2023. It involved F/A-18F Super Hornets from 1 Squadron on the Australian side working alongside Thai F-16 Fighting Falcon and JAS-39 Gripen fighters. The exercise included a variety of air combat training scenarios, including dissimilar air combat training (DACT), in which the two forces flew against each other using different types of aircraft.
Wing Commander Sean Hamilton, Commanding Officer of 1 Squadron said,“The exercise exposed Australian aircrew to fighting alongside dissimilar aircraft. They had to work collaboratively with their RTAF counterparts to understand each other’s capabilities and to develop effective integrated mission plans and this experience has strengthened their ability to partner with the RTAF in the futuree.”
Flight Lieutenant Jack Leavesley, a pilot from 1 Squadron said, “We have got so much value out of planning, briefing, flying and then debriefing with the aviators of the RTAF,” Flight Lieutenant Leavesley said. I have developed many friendships and have immense appreciation for the pride and professionalism that the RTAF have.”
The exercise also included large-force employment (LFE) scenarios, in which the two forces practiced working together in a variety of complex situations. The RAAF also embedded a Combat Support Group firefighter and a 452 Squadron air traffic controller with their respective RTAF counterparts. This allowed the two forces to share their experiences and learn from each other. Australia regards Thailand as an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region. The Australia-Thailand relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership in November 2020. Exercise Thai Boomerang 23 is a further demonstration of the strong commitment between the RAAF and the RTAF to work together to enhance regional security.