Open Day held at Woomera Test Range
10 December 2013
Hundreds of visitors attended a Woomera Test Range open day on 3 December in support of the final Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board meeting for 2013.
Pastoralists, miners, Woomera residents, transport representatives and Defence contractors were treated to a display of aircraft involved in tests at the range and heard about future plans for the world’s largest land-based test facility.
Woomera Test Range Director Reg Carruthers said it was the first open day focused on the Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board meeting.
Representatives of the range users joined Commonwealth and State Government officials to discuss the use of the area for the coming year.
"There are hundreds of users inside the Woomera Prohibited Area and we all need to work together for the best outcomes while ensuring safety and security of critical Defence testing activities,” Mr Carruthers said.
“We try to ensure we don't disrupt the lambing or shearing sessions, mining, the road and rail routes or traditional Indigenous ceremonial activities and other significant events.”
Among the aircraft on show at the open day were the F-18A/B Hornet and PC-9/A operated by the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, located at RAAF Base Edinburgh.
In addition to static displays, the unit conducted a flypast to demonstrate handling abilities of the aircraft and a typical formation used during photography of range trials.
Pastoralist Scott Michael, who owns Parakylia Station, enjoyed the flypasts.
“It was great to see the aircraft up close and speak to the pilots,” Mr Michael said.
“It was also interesting to hear about future changes and get an understanding of how Defence uses the range.”
He said this was important so he could negotiate a plan for the use of areas and work around the testing schedule.
Future plans for the Woomera Test Range include runway and infrastructure works, revitalisation of domestic support areas and an update to range systems. It is expected more ADF personnel will be posted to Woomera in line with plans to increase the use of the range.
External Relations Manager Lindsay Campbell said the range was primarily used for test and evaluation.
Navy, Army and Air Force all use the area for equipment testing, including unmanned aerial systems, artillery, countermeasures to protect aircraft from attack, and air-to-ground weapons testing. There are often three tests simultaneously taking place at the range.
Other highlights of the open day included static displays of a No. 92 Wing AP-3C Orion, a No. 38 Squadron KA350 King Air and the vehicles of the Woomera Test Range compliance team. A team from the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment also demonstrated its counter improvised explosive device capabilities.
Monax Mining explorer Stephen Hogan said the day was a great chance to connect with other range users.
"It is good that Defence is letting explorers take part in some of its activities,” Mr Hogan said.
“While we have been told about a lot of the activities, it is great to see the range and equipment first-hand.”