With the sound of jets screaming past in the distance and constant hum of power generators, 12 personnel from No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit (114MCRU) sit under the stars on a hill in the unforgiving bushland outside Pine Creek – about 220 kilometres south east of Darwin.
Over the course of the five-week exercise the detachment provides deployed radar and radios, fed back to the Mobile Control and Reporting Centre (MCRC) at RAAF Darwin in support of Exercise Diamond Storm.
Personnel deployed to the field include Communications Electronics Technicians, Ground Support Equipment Technicians, a Cook, a Medic and an Air Battle Manager to setup, operate and maintain the Tactical Air Defence Radar System.
Flying Officer (FLGOFF) Angus Ozimec, Flight Commander for the Detachment said they had no mobile reception, and were utilising satellite links for all communication connections.
“We can communicate with aircraft up to 250 nautical miles away,” FLGOFF Ozimec said.
“From here, we can reach the whole exercise airspace.”
Back at 114MCRU headquarters in Darwin, Surveillance Director Flight Sergeant (FSGT) Gary-Jon Darrigo said the unit is celebrating its 76th year of enduring support to operations during Exercise Diamond Storm.
“Diamond Storm unites weapons and surveillance specialists from across Australia to undertake complex missions and scenarios during the exercise,” FSGT Darrigo said.
114MCRU pulls data from a number of resources including military and civilian systems to create the tactical picture.
“114MCRU consolidates and contextualises the sensor coverage of the battlefield for commanders, managers and tactical operators, enabling expedited decision making during the fight,” FSGT Darrigo said.
During Exercise Diamond Storm, 114MCRU worked as blue force while their sister unit, No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit at RAAF Williamtown controlled the red force.