RAAF Base Williamtown will be a hive of activity as Hawk Lead-in Fighter aircraft and PC-9 aircraft return to the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range (SAAWR) to conduct fighter training for aircrew from early February.
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The aircraft from Number 76 squadron have scheduled three weeks of operations on the range from 4-22 February. PC-9 aircraft from Number 4 Squadron will also conduct essential training during the weeks of 18 February through to 15 March, and then during week of 8-12 April. PC-9 aircraft will also operate during the week of 17-21 June. Number 4 Squadron will support essential Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training for Army throughout this period.
Commander Air Combat Group (ACG), Air Commodore Michael Kitcher said residents living in East Medowie, Salt Ash and Lemon Tree Passage can expect the range to be used consistently throughout this period.
"This use is well under the SAAWR [Salt Ash Air Weapons Range] usage allowed under the operational conditions for the range, which is a maximum of 115 days each year over a 10-year rolling average," AIRCDRE Kitcher said.
Salt Ash use for 2018 was 41 days in total for ACG, which included 24 days for Hawks, five days for Hornets, and 12 days’ additional use for PC-9.
AIRCDRE Kitcher said every effort was 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.
Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit, which operates the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet, will not utilise the range for the first six months of 2019 due to the Air Warfare Instructor Course commitments.
"Aircrew always minimise their use of the range and once proficiency has been attained they move onto the next stage of their course," AIRCDRE Kitcher said.