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Next generation of pilots train at Salt Ash Air Weapons Range

Australia’s next fighter jet pilots are returning to Salt Ash Air Weapons Range as they gather vital skills for operating advanced military aircraft.

Australia’s next fighter jet pilots are returning to Salt Ash Air Weapons Range as they gather vital skills for operating advanced military aircraft.

RAAF Base Williamtown Hawk Lead-In Fighter aircraft will be operating between 9am to 5pm Thursdays and 9am to 3pm Fridays, from 30 January to 24 February.

Hawk two-seater jet aircraft prepare student pilots to master the controls of combat aircraft and progress towards fast attack aircraft such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft will also be operating on the range in support of No. 4 Squadron combat control and joint terminal attack training. Four squadrons have programmed training from 31 January to 2 February and training will involve night-time objectives up to 10:30pm.

PC-21 aircraft provide a pressurised cockpit, air conditioning, an anti-G system and onboard oxygen generation for undergraduate pilots to progress towards operating the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and MRH-90 helicopter.

They are capable of sustained low-level speed, fighter-like rates of rolls and bridges the performance gap between traditional turboprop and lead-in fighter aircraft.

Commander Air Combat Group Air Commodore Peter Robinson said residents living in East Medowie, Salt Ash and Lemon Tree Passage should expect the range to be used consistently throughout this period.

“Aircrew actively minimise the use of the range and once proficiency has been attained, they move onto the next stage of their course,” AIRCDRE Robinson said.

“Air Force has a responsibility to ensure personnel are ready and able to deploy at short notice and this involves necessary air to ground training that is employed at SAAWR.”

AIRCDRE Robinson said every effort will be made to minimise any inconvenience to residents during SAAWR training and advised the range schedule could change at short notice due to weather or operational considerations.

There is currently no programmed training scheduled for F-35A Lightning II aircraft on SAAWR.

Members of the public seeking further information are invited to call 1800 033 200.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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