TOP GUNS TAKE OFF FOR EXERCISE DIAMOND SHIELD

America’s elite fighter pilots have hit Australia – and they’re pushing our next generation of top guns to the limit.

Exercise Diamond Shield, a series of simulated combat missions off Newcastle, is pitting the two allies against each other – to prepare for scenarios they hope will never play out.

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From Tea Gardens Hawks Nest, Stephen began his media career with NBN almost 20 years ago before joining National Nine News. After recent years in management roles with the Newcastle Knights, the Hunter Medical Research Institute and private enterprise, he's returned to NBN News while studying law at the University of Newcastle.