Hornets to swarm over our skies
HORNETS will be buzzing around Evans Head next week, but it wont be an invasion of the insect variety, rather an RAAF training exercise.
F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft from the RAAF base in Williamtown will conduct operations at Evans Head Air Weapons Range from November 9-11 inclusive, and F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft will operate during the week of November 28 to December 2.
The operations will involve laser target operations and, later in the month, inert bombing operations.
With current high temperatures forecast and severe fire danger warnings in place over coming days, a spokesman for the RAAF advised the operations posed no fire risk to the area as the exercises would not cause combustion nor create ignition sources.
Laser operations next week would not require the closure of the Southern Defence Practice Area (DPA), which includes South Reef, however the Northern DPA that extends over the water to 1500m will be closed. Both areas will be closed however for operations later in the month.
Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Steven Roberton , warned the public not to try to view the operations through binoculars, as it could be dangerous to your eyesight.
"In the interest of public safety, we strongly advise members of the community to not view laser operations through optical enhancing equipment such as cameras or binoculars," Air Commodore Roberton said.
He said only single aircraft will operate over the range and no live weapons will be used during this activity.
During operations scheduled for later in the month, local residents can expect several Super Hornets on range from 11.30am-12.30pm and 3.30-4.30pm (schedules could change due to weather or other operational considerations).
"Air Force appreciates the ongoing input and long standing support the local community provides in terms of our operations,'' Air Commodore Roberton said.
"Local residents are advised access to the range (land areas) remains restricted regardless of any activities being conducted. This is due to the historical use of range and the possibility of unexploded ordnance remaining at the site."
The Evans Head Evans Head Air Weapons Range Community Advisory Panel has been advised of these activities.
"Defence personnel display red flags whenever live firing activities are conducted and carry out patrols to ensure people don't stray into the area," Air Commodore Roberton said.
"Range warning signs with QR codings are located at boat ramps from Yamba to Ballina. QR coding enables boaties and fishers to point their smart phones at the boat ramp signage to check on range use times and closures of the over-water areas of the Northern and Southern DPAs."
Marine services will also advise about operations over water.
For further information and a copy of the over-water DPA map and GPS co-ordinates, please refer to the Defence website at www.defence.gov.au/aircraftnoise and go to 'Ops Near Me' and then go to the 'Evans Head' tab.