Air Force staff pose under their mobile radar unit on a little used runway at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome while the RAAF takes part in a military exercise, miles from Evans Head itself. From left are Cpl Chris Bledsoe, LACW Katie Norman, Cpl Andrew Fiechtner, and Flt-Lt Lesley Everett.
Air Force staff pose under their mobile radar unit on a little used runway at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome while the RAAF takes part in a military exercise, miles from Evans Head itself. From left are Cpl Chris Bledsoe, LACW Katie Norman, Cpl Andrew Fiechtner, and Flt-Lt Lesley Everett.

RAAF crew blast off to Evans Head

FLIGHT-Lieutenant Lesley Everett loves her temporary posting.

As detachment commander of the radar and communications base at Evans Head Aerodrome, she and her team play a crucial role in ECADEX09 (East Coast Air Defence Exercise) currently under way off the coast.

“It’s great to be stationed here. It’s a beautiful town and the community of Evans Head has welcomed us with open arms,” she said.

Flt-Lt Everett commands a team of 22 which includes logistical personnel, a cook and a medical officer.

While remaining coy about the specific equipment they are operating, she could confirm it was the same as the units deployed in Afghanistan.

“Our operation is a mix of radar and general service technology,” she said.

“We provide extended radar range for the exercise aircraft and supply a radar picture and communication support to Williamtown RAAF base.

“Evans is a great pro-defence town.

“We’re enjoying our time here and really appreciated being welcomed into the RSL for the Remembrance Day ceremonies, particularly participating in the parade.”

ECADEX09 involves 28 jet fighters and support aircraft from Amberley, Williamtown and Tindal RAAF bases, plus a United States Air Force B52 flying out of Guam in the Pacific.

Last time the Air Force required radar support in the region the unit was deployed to the Dorrigo plateau, but rainfall and access problems prompted a switch to Evans Head after extensive computer modelling of the site.

The temporary base was transported on eight rigid trucks, two Unimog four-wheel drives, two Land Cruisers and a van, and took two days to set up.

ECADEX09 ends on Friday.



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