Securing an area nearly 20 square kilometres in size, with boundary lines stretching for kilometres in all directions, was the unique challenge facing the Air Force security team at RAAF Base Curtin.
Deployed during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023, the security team demonstrated a range of procedures and capabilities to respond to a variety of exercise ground and air attack scenarios.
Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) section lead with 2 Security Forces Squadron, Flying Officer Marat Roche, said Talisman Sabre provided a great opportunity to demonstrate and enhance the RAAF’s security capability.
“The security forces provided protection around the entire airbase at RAAF Base Curtin,” Flying Officer Roche said.
“We responded to a range of exercise scenarios including routine indirect fire threats, where the enemy had established a mortar position somewhere around the airfield and was firing munitions onto the airfield to try and disrupt our operations.”
The Security Forces team also had the opportunity to practise their drills in a realistic training environment.
“The enemy party were entirely independent from us; we had no idea of their plans and had to react to what they did and manoeuvre our forces to ensure that we defeated them,” Flying Officer Roche said.
“Our actions on for indirect fire were to move out into our dugout pits, and defend the airfield position until that mortar threat had passed.
“We then postured up and prepared for a ground attack by the enemy; my team would launch the R-70 drone to surveil the area for any mortar strikes and to help determine direction of fire.”
As the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance lead on the ground, Flying Officer Roche had a range of capabilities, some of them new, at his disposal to provide the best intelligence and early warning to his team and command.
“My role was to provide early warning to our security flights so they can react to stop any enemy trying to enter onto the base,” Flying Officer Roche said.
“We were operating our agile camera system, which is a new capability that can be set up all around the airfield covering main infiltration routes, fence lines and key infrastructure areas.”
However, it was not just Air Force working to defend the airfield – pushing out beyond the wire to collect information on enemy movements was a section of the 10th Light Horse Regiment from 13th Brigade, The Royal Australian Regiment.
“The 10th Light Horse were an awesome capability for us; they provided observation posts as well as surveilled and defended any areas of interest that we identified for them,” Flying Officer Roche said.
“They had 72 hours’ self-sustainment, so we could leave them out there for more time before they then moved back to our position and provided any intelligence they’d collected.
“Overall, Talisman Sabre was a great opportunity for us to rehearse our tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure that if we’re required, we can fight to the best of our ability.”