RAAF Woomera Range Complex

The RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC) is a major Australian military and civil aerospace facility and operation located in South Australia, approximately 450 kilometres (280 mi) north-west of Adelaide. The WRC is operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a division of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The complex includes both the land area of 122,188 square kilometres (47,177 sq mi) and the airspace that is restricted and controlled by the RAAF for safety and security. The WRC is a highly specialised ADF test and evaluation capability operated by the RAAF for the purposes of testing defence materiel.[1]

The word woomera is an Australian indigenous word of the Dharug language of the Eora people of the Sydney basin; a woomera is a wooden spear-throwing device.[2][3][4] Woomera was adopted initially as an appropriate[5] name for the settlement of Woomera, also called Woomera Village, located within the complex.

The complex has been variously known as the Anglo-Australian Long Range Weapons Establishment and then the Woomera Rocket Range;[6] the RAAF Woomera Test Range and in 2013, the facility was reorganised and renamed to the RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC).[7][8] The ground area of the WRC is defined by the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) and includes the Nurrungar Test Area (NTA); with a land area of 122,188 square kilometres (47,177 sq mi), the WPA is described by the RAAF as the largest land-based test range in the western world.[9] The Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO) coordinates daily operation of the complex which comprises a mix of South Australian crown land and is covered by pastoral leases and mining tenements granted by the Government of South Australia. The Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board monitors the operations of the WPA and the WPACO. The airspace above the WPA is called the Woomera Restricted Airspace (WRX) and is controlled by the RAAF for safety and security reasons during the conduct of some activities on the complex together with the support of Airservices Australia.

The complex also contains the RAAF Base Woomera, or the RAAF Woomera Airfield, that describes the dual-runway military airfield located 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) north[10] of the settlement of the Woomera Village. The airfield has been in military operation since a RAF Dakota landed at Woomera on 19 June 1947.[11]

RAAF Woomera Range Complex
near Woomera, South Australia in Australia
Skylark launch for NASA.tiff
Launch of a NASA Skylark sounding rocket from the Woomera Range Complex in ca. 1961
Woomera Test Range map
Map of South Australia showing the land area covered by the RAAF Woomera Range Complex
Coordinates30°57′19″S 136°31′56″E / 30.9553°S 136.5322°ECoordinates: 30°57′19″S 136°31′56″E / 30.9553°S 136.5322°E
Type
Area122,188 square kilometres (47,177 sq mi)
Site information
OwnerGovernment of South Australia
under a crown lease to the
Department of Defence
Operator Royal Australian Air Force
Open to
the public
Prohibited access
StatusActive
Site history
In use1946 – present
Test information
Nuclear tests9 (See British nuclear tests at Maralinga and Operation Totem)
Other testsMissiles, aircraft weapons, drone aircraft, rockets

Etymology and broad definitions

The word woomera is an Australian indigenous word of the Dharug language of the Eora people of the Sydney basin; a woomera is a wooden spear-throwing device.[2][3][4] Woomera was adopted initially as an appropriate[5] name for the settlement of Woomera,[12] that is also called Woomera Village, based on a recommendation from Group Captain Alfred George Pither.[12]

Since its establishment in 1947 and its renaming in 2016 as the RAAF Woomera Range Complex, the defence facilities have been variously known as the Anglo-Australian Long Range Weapons Establishment and then the Woomera Rocket Range between 1947 and 1980 when it was operated by the Australian Government as a Defence research and long range weapons testing range.[6] Since 1980 the complex has had various other titles and in more recent years, the RAAF facility has mainly been known as the RAAF Woomera Test Range. In 2013, and as part of the ongoing redevelopment and remediation of Woomera[13] into its 'next-generation' configuration in readiness to support the ADF's 'Force2030' plan,[14][15][16] the range facility was reorganised and renamed to the RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC).[7][8]

The ground area of the WRC is defined by the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) and includes the Nurrungar Test Area (NTA). The WPA covers an area of 122,188 square kilometres (47,177 sq mi)[9] and is described by the RAAF as the largest land-based test range in the western world.[9] The WPA is highly prospective and the Government of South Australia and Geoscience Australia have assessed that by 2025 about A$35 billion worth of iron ore, gold and other mineral resources are potentially exploitable from within the WPA. Access to the WPA for non-Defence use requires Commonwealth approval and is on the proviso that Defence activities will not be unduly compromised.[9] The ground area of the WPA is bound generally by Woomera in the south-east, Roxby Downs and the village associated with the Olympic Dam mine in the east, William Creek in the north-east, Coober Pedy and further north to the 28th parallel, Maralinga in the south-west, and the Trans-Australian Railway and Tarcoola in the south. The WPA is divided into green, amber and red zones; representing infrequent, periodic, and frequent Defence use, respectively. Easements through the WPA allows public transit on the Tarcoola-Alice Springs railway, Stuart Highway, Lake Cadibarrawirracanna Road, Olympic Dam Highway (B97), William Creek Road, as well as the Woomera Village. Permits are required to use the Anne Beadell Highway. From time to time, and for safety reasons, Defence is able to close access for short periods along these easements during the conduct of tests carried out on the complex.[17] The Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO) coordinates daily operation of the complex which comprises a mix of South Australian crown land and is covered by pastoral leases and mining tenements granted by the Government of South Australia. The Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board monitors the operations of the WPA and the WPACO and recommends amendments to co-existence policies and procedures; develop high-level relationships between Defence and the resources sector; resolve disputes between Defence and non-Defence users; report annually on the balance of interests in the WPA; and conduct a review every seven years of the balance of interests in the WPA. Its members are comprise appointments from the Australian and South Australian governments.[18]

The airspace above the WPA is an integral part of the WRC. Entry into Woomera Restricted Airspace (WRX) is controlled by the RAAF for safety and security reasons during the conduct of some activities on the complex. Airservices Australia defines the exact limits of restricted airspace in their annual handbook. When required, the RAAF issues a 'Notice to Airmen' (NOTAM) which effectively 'closes' access to any part of the WRX when safety or security needs require such action during the conduct of Defence activities at the complex.[19]

History

The groundspace of the complex is known as the Woomera Prohibited Area and measures 122,188 square kilometres (47,177 sq mi). It was first declared a prohibited area in 1947.[20]

Military use

Anglo-Australian

Germany's use of V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets during World War II prompted the British to establish their own rocket testing programme. However, the density of population in the United Kingdom made testing risky, so the British turned to Australia, asking for a site with a long testing corridor containing minimal population. The two nations joined in the Anglo-Australian Joint Project, a Commonwealth weapons design and test program established in 1946.[7][6] Surveying the 2,300-kilometre (1,400 mi) range from Woomera to the far north coast of Western Australia was initially conducted by the Army's Australian Survey Corps initially under Major L Lockwood from 1946 in South Australia's Far North.[21][22] One of the Survey Corps members who commenced work there in 1947 was Len Beadell.[7][23] Australia was responsible for providing the testing facilities, personnel, and most of the funding, while the United Kingdom supplied most of the scientific equipment and personnel, and in addition to its financial contribution, paid for the weapons being used.[7] At its peak, the complex had an area of 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi), most of which was in South Australia, but included a satellite range in north-west Western Australia.[8][24] This was later scaled back to a total area of 127,000 square kilometres (49,000 sq mi); still the largest land-based weapons test complex in the western world.[8][24]

Facilities at Salisbury supported the design and testing of many weapons and Upper Atmospheric Experiments trialled at Woomera.[7] Weapons designed by the Joint Project and tested at Woomera include the Sea Wolf, Rapier, Sea Dart, and Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles, the Black Knight research rocket, the Blue Steel nuclear stand-off missile, the Malkara anti-tank missile, the Ikara anti-submarine missile, and the GAF Jindivik target aircraft.[7] Missile testing commenced in 1949.[24] The Joint Project ran until 1980.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the complex was the second busiest rocket range in the world next to Cape Canaveral.

When the Anglo-Australian Joint Project began to wind down in the early 1970s, the village population began to rapidly drop from its peak of about 7000 residents in the mid-1960s. However, with the establishment of the USAF/ADF Joint Defence Communications Facility at the nearby Nurrungar site in 1969, approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) south of Woomera, along with its 1100 permanent staff, the village population stabilized at around 4,500 people (including around 800 children). In the late 1990s, as the Nurrungar program was winding down, the ADF reassessed the role of Woomera in its future force structure. What became apparent to the ADF at that time was that the Woomera Test Range was the only land-based test range left in the Western world capable of testing the next (or what is now termed '5th') generation of weapons systems within a fully instrumented, land-based, specialized test and evaluation range. This assessment was to result, positively, in redefining the future role and strategic importance of the Woomera Range Complex within Australia's long-term Defence requirements.

United States

During the early 1960s, the Woomera Range participated in the Mercury and Gemini space programs. Specialized tracking and communications stations were set up at Red Lake about 50 km (31 mi) north of Woomera and at Mirikata about 200 km (120 mi) west of Woomera. These stations also played an important part in the first Moon landing mission. However, one of the most significant facilities installed by the United States was the nearby, and highly specialised, 'Deep Space Station 41' (DSS-41). This facility was constructed at the edge of Island Lagoon about 25 km (16 mi) south of Woomera and was directly supported from the Woomera Defence Village. DSS-41 played a role in the 'race for space' from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s when the main tracking systems were dismantled and returned to the United States. While none of the DSS-41 facility exists, the roadworks and building sites for this facility can still be seen.

After the cancellation of the Joint Project, the complex was operated by Defence Research Centre Salisbury (former Weapons Research establishment, now Defence Science and Technology Organisation) in support of Australian Defence projects as they arose and also in support of German and NASA Sounding Rocket launches to observe the Supernova 1987A and other astronomical experiments. Woomera then focused on supporting the nearby joint Australia-United States Joint Defence Space Communications Station, Nurrungar.[7][8] The surveillance facility closed in 1999.

Australian

During the 1990s it became apparent to the RAAF that Woomera was the only land-based test range left in the western world that was large enough for the testing of the next-generation of weapons systems (often now referred to as fifth generation systems) which Australia was soon to begin acquiring. Beginning with the instrumented range (Range E) in 1991, the RAAF has gradually taken over responsibility for the operation of the whole complex on behalf of the Department of Defence. In 2009, Joint Project 3024 was established to upgrade the range's instrumentation systems, and Project R7034 established to upgrade and modernize the required infrastructure. These projects have a 2020 ready point to coincide with the introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Historically, for both Woomera and Australia, following the end of the Anglo-Australian Joint Project no further development occurred to make use of the technologies, skills and knowledge gained while the Project was operating. Australia became the fourth nation in the world to build and place in orbit a satellite from its own territory (WRESAT), that was the height, and end, of Australia's foray into space activities using its own purpose built facility at Lake Hart (the Eldo site at Launch Area 6 of the Range). These launchers (there were two, and a third never completed) are now a relic of the Range's significant history of space-based activities. These two old launchers still tower over ten stories high over the inland Lake Hart dry salt lake, but are also a mute testament to Australia's once renowned position in space research and development. That former position, however, was recognized in 2007 with the unveiling of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) plaque commemorating Woomera's induction into the AIAA hall of fame, a distinction that placed Woomera's contribution to aerospace history and development on a par with Kitty Hawk (site of the first heavier than air controlled flight), and the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon (site of the first inter-planetary landing by humans). By 1999 the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit identified the future potential for the complex, particularly as it was one of the few sites in the world where over-the-horizon weapons testing was feasible.[8]

Prior to this review, the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), and in conjunction with the DSTO, had been continuing to utilize the former 'Range E' (instrumented) facility since 1991. In the mid-1990s, ARDU took over total management of the Range from the then DSTO but with the creation of Defence Estate, the administration of the Woomera Prohibited Area itself was handed back to Estate to manage, with RAAF only maintaining control over the defined Woomera Instrumented Test and Evaluation Range (formerly Range E and as the instrumented portion of the WPA was then known). Over the following ten years (1997–2007), the RAAF re-defined the purpose and operation of the range and, by 2007, Chief of Air Force had again assumed full command of the entire Woomera Test Range Complex (i.e. both the Range and the Base).

The RAAF Woomera Test Range (WTR) is the principle formation of the WRC and the primary operational reason for the existence of the Range Complex. Access to and use of the WRC is managed through Headquarters, RAAF Air Warfare Centre, with the AWC's Air Force Ranges Directorate (AFRD) responsible for assuring the overall capabilities of the Range. The day-to-day operation of the WTR element of the WRC is the responsibility of the Woomera Test Range Squadron (WTR SQN). In this role, the WTR SQN is also directly supported by HW AWC, and 20SQN and Defence contractors permanently based at RAAF Base Woomera. In 2007, the Woomera Test Range was acknowledged by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as a site of world aerospace historical significance.

In 2016 the Australian Government announced plans for an A$297-million remediation of the range and the upgrade of the measuring and monitoring and sensor systems at Woomera. Raytheon Australia was awarded the contract.[25] The works are intended to accommodate performance tests of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and provide access for the United States military.[26] Raytheon announced that the range would be challenged by the testing of "new remotely piloted air systems, evolved network centric warfare capabilities, and weapons fitted to the EA-18G Growlers and Joint Strike Fighters" after the upgrade.[27]

RAAF Base Woomera is co-managed, but as part of the wider WRC facility, by RAAF Combat Support Group (CSG) and the Defence Estate & Infrastructure Group (DEIG). CSG's role, delivered through No.20 (Woomera) Squadron, is to essentially operate the aerodrome precinct ('Base Sector North') element of the base in direct support of Defence activities at the WRC. DEIG's role with the WRC is two-fold; firstly DEIG is responsible for the operation of the 'village' support elements of the base (i.e. 'Base Sector South') such as messing, accommodation, security and other normal RAAF Base services and, secondly, DEIG are responsible for managing the wider Defence estate and infrastructure needs of the entire Range and Base complex. Consistent with the operation of all other RAAF Bases, DEIG manages a range of contractors to Defence to deliver the required services at Woomera.

Other military use

In 2013 testing began on Taranis, a drone aircraft which is the result of a joint project between UK defence and BAE Systems.[28] In December 2009 there were up to ten different tests that occurred on the complex daily, and bookings for access had been made as far in advance as 2023.[29] The increase in interest from other parties prompted the Australian government to mark $500 million in funding for Woomera in May 2009, to update tracking systems and other infrastructure.[29] The complex is currently used for Australian Defence Force trials, and access is leased to foreign militaries and private companies for their own testing of weapons systems, rockets, and drone aircraft.[7][8][29]

Civil aerospace use

The complex has also been used for rocketry.[7] During the 1950s, the Black Knight rocket (as a component of Blue Streak) was tested at the range.[7] The first rocket launch occurred in 1957, and continued until the last satellite launch, Prospero X-3 in 1971.[24] Australia's first satellite, WRESAT, was launched from Woomera in 1967. The complex was awarded a National Engineering Landmark in 1999.[30] Although initially allowed to lapse after the cancellation of the Joint Project, the use of the range for rocket research later increased.[7] In 2002, the University of Queensland launched a rocket carrying the HyShot engine: the first successful flight of a hypersonic scramjet engine.[7]

During the Cold War, Woomera had the second highest quantity and rate of rocket launches in the world after NASA's facilities at Cape Canaveral.[29]

Other launches included:

Other uses

In 2011 Federal Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, together with South Australian Premier Mike Rann, announced that large areas of the Woomera Protected Area would be opened up for mining. This followed years of negotiations for the "mixed use" of the area, which contains many billions of dollars of mineral resources.[33]

Non-defence users of the area include pastoralists, aboriginal people and traditional owners, mining and exploration companies with leases in the WPA (including Arrium and OZ Minerals), opal miners, tourists, research organisations and the rail operator, Genesee & Wyoming Australia.[34] Modern mines within the area include the Challenger gold mine, Peculiar Knob iron ore mine, Prominent Hill copper mine and the Cairn Hill iron ore mine. As of 2017, only Prominent Hill[35] is operational. Peculiar Knob is in care and maintenance owing to a weak iron ore price, while ore bodies at Cairn Hill and Challenger have been exhausted.

Security

There are a considerable number of warning signs across the range and on public access roads throughout the WPA warning travellers not to leave those routes without the permission of the Department of Defence. Since the beginning of 2012, the RAAF has also established, in conjunction with the South Australian Police, regular patrols of all roads and sites across the WPA to ensure public safety, particularly during periods when Range activities necessitate the closure of public access roadways and other easements (such at the main trunk railway line to Darwin).

Land area management and administration

Effective from 1 January 2015, the management of the Woomera Range Complex was reorganised under the new RAAF Air Warfare Centre (AWC).[36][37] Operations management of the complex are managed through Headquarters Air Warfare Centre, while day-to-day operation of the range is the responsibility of the Woomera Test Range Squadron, which was expected to be renamed to a 'numbered' squadron during 2016. The Woomera Test Range Squadron is a sub-element of the Air Force Ranges Directorate (AFRD), which is also part of the Air Warfare Centre. Headquarters AWC, Air Force Ranges Directorate and the Test Range Squadron are all currently based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, in Adelaide, located approximately 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-west of the complex. RAAF Base Woomera was formed in January 2015 by amalgamation of RAAF Woomera Airfield and the Woomera Village.[36] No.20 (Woomera) Squadron was formed on 1 April 2015 to manage the operation of the aerodrome, while the Woomera 'village' element of RAAF Base Woomera essentially continues to operate as it has done since 1982. The Defence Estate & Infrastructure Group manage the operations of the village within the new RAAF Base Woomera structure, but the village remains open to the public as it has been since 1982. The Village remains totally owned and operated by Defence and exclusively supports the needs of Defence activities at the WRC.[36]

Access is managed by the Department of Defence Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office using a permit system.[38]

Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board

The Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board monitors the operations of the Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office and meets semi-annually to recommend amendments to co-existence policies and procedures; develop high-level relationships between Defence and the resources sector; resolve disputes between Defence and non-Defence users; report annually on the balance of interests in the WPA; and conduct a review every seven years of the balance of interests in the WPA. As of 2017, the WPA Advisory Board membership included:[39]

Name Position Relevant roles
The Hon. Amanda Vanstone Chair Former Liberal Senator for South Australia and Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs
The Hon. Paul Holloway Deputy Chair Former Minister for Mines & Energy, Government of South Australia
Air Marshal Leo Davies AO, CSC Chief of Air Force
Dr Paul Heithersay PSM Deputy Chief Executive, Department of State Development, and CEO Olympic Dam Task Force, Government of South Australia
Andy Keough CSC CEO Defence SA, Government of South Australia
Mark Lawson Deputy Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government
Rebecca Skinner Deputy Secretary, Department of Defence, Australian Government

Minutes of the Board from 2012–2016 were partially released following a Freedom of Information request in 2016.[40]

See also

References

  1. ^ Defence Regulation 2016 (Cth) r 58
  2. ^ a b Kaberry, Phyllis Mary (1970). Aboriginal woman, sacred and profane. London: Routledge. p. 14. The Aborigines generally use a spear-thrower (noslal) and a shovel-spear (djinad), the fashioning of which is a long and delicate process. The blade made of iron, mudagandji, must be welded into an oval shape varying from three to five ...
  3. ^ a b Rolls, Mitchell; Johnson, Murray (2010). Historical Dictionary of Australian Aborigines. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0810-85997-5. SPEAR-THROWER. A wooden implement that has a projection peg either carved into or secured to the butt, the spear-thrower greatly increased the range and accuracy of spears hurled by Aboriginal hunters. It could also be used for a ...
  4. ^ a b Hall, Linley Erin (2005). The Laws of Motion: An Anthology Of Current Thought. New York: Rosen. p. 66. ISBN 1-4042-0408-3. In Australia the spear thrower is popularly called a woomera, one of the many Aboriginal names for a spear thrower.
  5. ^ a b Reed, A. W. (1973). Place names of Australia. Frenchs Forest: Reed Books. p. 230. ISBN 0-589-50128-3.
  6. ^ a b c Morton, Peter (1989). Fire across the desert: Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project 1946–1980. Canberra, ACT: AGPS Press. ISBN 0-644-06068-9. OCLC 29261144.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2. OCLC 271822831.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g DeBelle, Penelope (25 July 2009). "Blast from the past". The Advertiser. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d "About the Woomera Prohibited Area". Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO). Department of Defence, Australian Government. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ YPWR – Woomera (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 28 February 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 11 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Beadell, Len (1975). Still in the Bush. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. p. 101. ISBN 0-7270-0020-9.
  12. ^ a b Clark, Chris (2002). "Pither, Alfred George (1908–1971)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 16. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Remediation of the Woomera Test Range". Defence Capability Plan (DCP)2009-2019. Department of Defence, Australian Government. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Australia plans to spend $157 million on Woomera Range remediation". Strategic Defence Intelligence. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific century: force 2030". Australian Policy Organisation.
  16. ^ "The Strategic Reform Program - Delivering Force 2030" (PDF). Department of Defence. Australian Government.
  17. ^ Woomera Prohibited Area access zones (Map). Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO), Department of Defence, Australian Government. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board". Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO), Department of Defence. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Designated Airspace Handbook" (PDF). Airservices Australia. Australian Government. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  20. ^ "About the Woomera Prohibited Area". Department of Defence. Australian Government. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  21. ^ Coulthard-Clark, CD, 2000, Australia's Military Mapmakers – The Royal Australian Survey Corps 1915–96, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-551343-6
  22. ^ Fitzgerald, Lawrence, Brigadier (Retd) RA Svy, 1980, Lebanon to Labuan, ISBN 0959497900
  23. ^ Beadell, Len (1975). Still in the Bush. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. p. 31. ISBN 0-7270-0020-9.
  24. ^ a b c d Wellfare, John (24 February 2005). "Our vital wasteland". Air Force News. Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  25. ^ Blenkin, Max (27 June 2016). "PM launches Woomera test range upgrade". news.com.au. AAP. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  26. ^ "Raytheon wins $297m Woomera range contract". InDaily. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Woomera Upgrade to provide opportunities for local defence industry" (PDF). 4 October 2013.
  28. ^ Grimson, Matthew; Corcoran, Mark (7 February 2014). "Taranis drone: Britain's $336m supersonic unmanned aircraft launched over Woomera". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  29. ^ a b c d Wheatley, Kim (17 November 2009). "International allies flock to Woomera testing range". Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  30. ^ "Woomera Rocket Range, 1946–". Engineers Australia. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Woomera LA2". astronautix.com. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  32. ^ Amos, Jonathan (13 June 2010). "Japanese Hayabusa asteroid mission comes home". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  33. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2011
  34. ^ "Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office – Governance". Department of Defence. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Second Quarter Report 2017" (PDF). OZ Minerals. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  36. ^ a b c "RAAF Base Woomera lifts off" (Press release). department of Defence. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  37. ^ "New Year will be a new start for Woomera base". InterconnectSystems. 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  38. ^ "Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office". Department of Defence. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  39. ^ "Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board". Department of Defence. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Disclosure Log – Decisions – Department of Defence". www.defence.gov.au. Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence. Retrieved 30 November 2016.

Further reading

  • Beadell, Len (1967). Blast The Bush. Lansdowne Publishing. ISBN 1-86302-618-5.

External links

Emu Field, South Australia

Emu Field is located in the desert of South Australia, at 28°41′54″S 132°22′17″E (ground zero Totem 1 test). Variously known as Emu Field, Emu Junction or Emu, it was the site of the Operation Totem pair of nuclear tests conducted by the British government in October 1953.

The site was surveyed by Len Beadell in 1952. A village and airstrip were constructed for the subsequent testing program. The site was supported from the RAAF Woomera Range Complex.

Two British atomic tests were conducted at the site. Totem 1 was detonated on 15 October 1953 and Totem 2 was detonated on 27 October 1953. The devices were both sited on towers and yielded 9 kilotons and 7 kilotons respectively. The site was also used in September–October 1953 for some of the Kitten series of tests, which were conventional (rather than nuclear) explosions used to evaluate neutron initiators.

It was later found that the radioactive cloud from the first detonation did not disperse as expected, and traveled north-east over the Australian continent.

The site at Emu Field was considered too remote for future use, and the search for a more convenient location led to the survey of Maralinga, where a further series of atomic tests was conducted in 1956.

There are now stone monuments at the ground-zero points, which can be visited by tourists (with the written approval of the RAAF Woomera Test Range who now control access to the area), though the location is still extremely remote (see Anne Beadell Highway). Evidence of the explosions may still be seen at ground-zero in the form of vitrified sand and concentric blast rings.

List of Australian military bases

The Australian Defence Force is made up of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. These three military services have numerous military bases situated in all the States and Territories of Australia. Most of Australian Defence Force bases are equipped with Everyman's Welfare Service recreation centres.

List of Royal Australian Air Force installations

This is a list of current and previous Royal Australian Air Force airstrips, aerodromes and bases. The air force also owns and maintains "bare bases" in remote areas of Australia. These bases have runways and buildings, but only a caretaker staff. They are generally only used for exercises as there are no units permanently based there.

RAAF Base Edinburgh

RAAF Base Edinburgh (ICAO: YPED) is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military airbase located in Edinburgh, 25 km (16 mi) north of the centre of Adelaide, South Australia, in Australia

The base is primarily home to No 92 Wing and their Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft that conduct surveillance operations throughout Australia's region of interest. The Air Warfare Centre has subsumed the roles of AOSG and whilst it still conducts research and development on defence systems such as aircraft and weapons at the Woomera Test Range (WTR), it has expanded its role to address opportunities to improve Air Force’s ability to maximise the operational effectiveness of fifth-generation, networked capabilities through improved integration across Defence and increased knowledge sharing with allied AWCs.

Also after an extensive building program over the course of 2010–2011, RAAF Base Edinburgh is also become the home of 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, a regular infantry battalion of the Australian Army,

1st Armoured Regiment, 1st Combat Service Support Battalion and other smaller units. This has pushed the daily working population of RAAF Base Edinburgh beyond 4,500 from 6am-6pm.

RAAF Base Woomera

RAAF Base Woomera (WMA), was proclaimed by Chief of Air Force Directive in January 2015. RAAF Base Woomera and the RAAF Woomera Test Range (WTR) are the two formations which make up the 'Woomera Range Complex' (WRC). RAAF Base Woomera consists of two sectors, 'Base Sector North' which is a restricted access area and includes Camp Rapier. the entrance to the Woomera Test Range and the RAAF Woomera Airfield (IATA: UMR, ICAO: YPWR). 'Base Sector South' is accessible by the public and essentially encompasses that part of RAAF Base Woomera long referred to as the Woomera Village. Woomera Village is often quoted as a 'remote town'. It not a 'town', but rather an 'open base' of the RAAF. The 'village' has previously always functioned as an Australian Government/Defence Force garrison facility until it was fully incorporated into RAAF Base Woomera in 2015.

Rae Heint

Rae Heint is an Australian artist and painter.

Tallaringa Conservation Park

Tallaringa Conservation Park is a protected area located in the west of the Australian state of South Australia about 615 kilometres (382 miles) north west of the city of Port Augusta and about 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of the town of Coober Pedy. The conservation park was proclaimed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 in 1991.

As of 2013, the conservation park was described as follows:A vast wilderness of vegetated dunes and gibber rises, Tallaringa Conservation Park sits on the fringe of the Great Victoria Desert. The park supports a variety of wildlife species that have adapted to live in this dry arid environment.

The access to the conservation park is via the Anne Beadell Highway which passes from east to west through it from the Stuart Highway in the east to Laverton in Western Australia in the west.

The conservation park is located within the South Australian Government region of Eyre and Western, the Great Victoria Desert Bioregion and the RAAF Woomera Range Complex.

The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category VI protected area.

Woomera, South Australia

Woomera, officially Woomera Village, is a town located in the Far North region of South Australia in Australia, approximately 446 kilometres (277 mi) north of Adelaide. In common usage, "Woomera" also refers to the wider RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC), a large Australian Defence Force aerospace and systems testing range covering an area of approximately 122,000 square kilometres (47,000 sq mi) operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Woomera township is part of RAAF Base Woomera which, along with the Woomera Test Range (WTR), forms the larger entity known as the Woomera Range Complex (WRC), promulgated by Chief of Air Force (CAF) in June 2014. As at the 2016 census the Woomera Village had a population of 146, and its usual population varies between 150 and 200 people, yet the village can provide accommodation and services for up to 500 people per day. Although the complex is closed to the public, Woomera Village is open to the public. The location of the Woomera Village can be described as being in the outback desert area of South Australia. It is approximately 446 kilometres (277 mi) north-west of Adelaide and is in the State region known as the Far North. There are 27 pastoral stations within the Woomera Prohibited Area, which essentially forms the ground space of the Woomera Test Range, and there are currently four major mines (2013) - Challenger, Prominent Hill, Peculiar Knob, and Cairn Hill. There is also a long-established precious gems (mainly opal) field near the Coober Pedy end of the Stuart Highway which cuts through the middle of the Range.

Woomera (spear-thrower)

A woomera is a wooden Australian Aboriginal spear-throwing device. Similar to an atlatl, it serves as an extension of the human arm, enabling a spear to travel at a greater speed and force than possible with only the arm.

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