Strong partners: the Australia-US alliance

Raytheon personnel help simulate threats for Talisman Sabre 2019

A F/A-18F Super Hornet from No. 1 Squadron takes off from RAAF Base Amberley during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.

Raytheon Australia participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019—a joint training exercise between Australia and the United States forces—using electronic warfare technology to simulate realistic ground-based threats.

The company provided equipment and personnel to help support Talisman Sabre 2019, the eighth exercise in the biennial series of bilateral exercises between Australia and the United States since 2005.

"The exercise gives the two allied nations the opportunity to plan and conduct joint task force operations, improving combat readiness and interoperability,” said Nick Paske, Raytheon Australia’s senior threat operator.

This year’s exercise also featured additional participating units from New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan, and involved Sea, Air, Land and Special Forces operations to include logistics activities, amphibious landings and urban operations.

A number of electronic warfare assets were deployed to support the exercise, including three truck-mounted Mobile Radar Threat Simulators and three Targetable Communication Systems. Several members of Raytheon’s Mobile Threat Training Emitter System team deployed to the exercise to operate the equipment. The company’s personnel spent two weeks in the field, working alongside a contingent of U.S. Marines and Royal Air Force personnel.

The Mobile Threat Training Emitter System replicates a number of ground-based radio frequency emitters for aircraft to engage. Exercise scenario designers provide input to allow the system to create a layered hostile “red” surface for air units to fight against. 

During operations on Talisman Sabre, Raytheon’s mission directors provided data and instructions to the system assets to either detect, deter or defeat “blue” aircraft. The threat simulator units operated between Evans Head Aerodrome and Evans Head Weapons Range, and provided realistic ground-based threats for the combined Australia and US forces to engage.

“Combined with other air and ground forces, they created an opposing force that challenged Talisman Sabre participants,” Paske said.

Paske noted that the company was able to support the Australian Defence Force’s electronic warfare capability with minimal lead time to deliver a credible simulated adversary force.

“It was the first time that the training system was used against naval assets, with the threat simulators taking on HMAS Melbourne for a day, simulating surface-to-surface threats,” Paske said. “The exercise gave great insight into the benefits of layered tactical effects, and how they provide aircrew, ground operators and other players with a realistic and accurate threat to train against.”

During the exercise, Raytheon also conducted full cycle electromagnetic spectrum operations planning; this included identifying which parts of the spectrum were being used, and deconflicting them so that the “red force” did not jam its own signals, nor any commercial ones, and therefore ensured that the electronic warfare activities during Talisman Sabre had minimal impact on business as usual for commercial and civil emitters.

During Talisman Sabre, several senior Australian Defence Force officials visited Evan’s Head during the exercise to watch the training system capability in action. They included Secretary of the Department of Defence Greg Moriarty; Vice Chief of the Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnson; and Department of Defence Chief Financial Officer Steven Groves.

Published On: 09/11/2019
Last Updated: 09/12/2019