Surveying the skies over the Northern Territory, No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit (3CRU) is supporting Exercise Diamond Storm 2019 from the very highest hill in Timber Creek.
A crew of technical and maintenance personnel carefully transported their tactical long range surveillance radar over 4,000 kilometres from RAAF Williamtown. The journey took a number of days and the set up was no easy task. Communication Electronics Technician Corporal (CPL) Steve Maley said the terrain on Yellow Drum Hill is rocky, with red dust and swarms of flies.
“We are trained to deploy our radar capability to the most remote locations. We have to drive a large number of pins into the ground to secure the radar and this time we had to drill through a lot of solid rock,” said CPL Maley.
“The location on Yellow Drum Hill is austere but crucial. We always set up our radars and antenna farm in the highest locations we can find.
“Our Tactical Air Defence Radar System (TADRS) has a range of up to 250 nautical miles and our role here is to help provide a three dimensional air picture in exercise scenarios.
“The TADRS on Yellow Drum Hill is transmitting information to our Air Battle Managers all the way in Williamtown, NSW, and our antenna farm is allowing these controllers to communicate with the aircraft.
“3CRU are emulating an enemy force during Diamond Storm. We are playing the ‘baddies’ to provide complex training for the Air Warfare Instructor Course candidates.
“My team are up on the hill for a seven week deployment. We have to keep the radar spinning to keep the exercise going. If a jet breaks it can potentially sit out of a mission but if our radar goes down there is a crucial missing link,” CPL Maley said.
Exercise Diamond Storm scenarios are designed to test and prepare our people to enable a fully integrated force. Surveillance and Response Group personnel including those from No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit and 3CRU are deployed to provide tactical aerospace battle management functions and air traffic management systems in support of the exercise.