EA-18G Growler aircraft taxi at RAAF Base Williamtown before taking off during Exercise Diamond Shield 24.

Growlers visit Pearce to mark special flight 

The event was a commemoration of a historic event for both the Royal Australian Air Force and aviation in Australia in general.
May 2, 2024

TWO Growlers visited Pearce air base to mark the 100th anniversary of the first circumnavigation flight of Australia by Wing Commander Stanley Goble and Flight Lieutenant Ivor McIntyre in their Fairey IIID seaplane.

Six Squadron Wing Commander Steven Thornton said the first circumnavigation flight of Australia was not achieved until five years after the first flight from England to Australia.

“This was largely due to Australia being so vast and undeveloped at the time,’’ he said.

“(This year) also marks the 50th anniversary of a 6 Squadron F-111, crewed by Wing Commander Ray Funnell and Squadron Leader John Miller who completed the same feat in 1974.’’

Exercise Centenarie Redimus will provide the current 6 Squadron aviators the privilege to commemorate a historic event for not only aviation in Australia, but also the Royal Australian Air Force.

“It will also provide the opportunity to exercise agile operations, provide an engagement opportunity and to promote EA-18 Growlers and the Air Combat Group as a desirable career path.”

Two EA-18 Growlers deployed through RAAF bases Townsville, Scherger, Darwin, Pearce and East Sale, replicating as close as possible to the previous events.

He said 6 Squadron operated 12 EA-18G Growler aircraft.

“The EA-18G Growler is an airborne electronic attack aircraft, designed to support air, land and sea forces by denying, degrading and disrupting a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communications.’’

Australian Geographic adventurer of the year 2016 Michael Smith will also be undertaking a re-enactment of the first circumnavigation of Australia in his modern seaplane Southern Sun.

Mr Smith will be following the original flight plan of Wing Commander Goble and Flight Lieutenant McIntyre including stopping in the same locations on the same dates.

The 6 Squadron EA-18 Growlers and Mr Smith’s seaplane both passed through Townsville at the same time providing a unique photo opportunity to capture the historic feat.

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