Paul Alford and his son Harry, 8, of Hexham, and the blo-kart they raced at Evans Head aerodrome.
Paul Alford and his son Harry, 8, of Hexham, and the blo-kart they raced at Evans Head aerodrome. Jamie Brown

It’s gratis to the air force

EVANS Head aerodrome is playing host to yet another Royal Australian Air Force military exercise, with a mobile radar deployed there for this month.

The high tech radar, used to track and direct aircraft, along with its 15 ground support crew, are part of ECADEX 2009, the Australian Defence Force’s and the RAAF’s major East Coast Air Defence exercise.

The exercise takes place every two years.

In the last exercise radar was deployed on the Dorrigo plateau, but site access and high rainfall prompted a rethink, and Evans Head was chosen after extensive computer modelling showed the site to be ideal for the task.

No weapons will be kept at the aerodrome during the exercise, but 15 personnel in full military uniform will be, along with eight rigid trucks, two Unimog four-wheel-drives, two Land Cruisers and a van.

Richmond Valley Council manager for strategic planning, Ray Medhurst, said the Department of Defence would not be charged for the exercise, because, as in recent bushfires, emergency services can use the Heritage-listed aerodrome for free.

A land sailing race at the aerodrome over the weekend, part of the sport’s Australian championship series, was not affected by the radar’s presence.

The only difference is the sailing event was charged the standard rate of $1200 a day for use of the aerodrome.



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