Test and Training AreasDefenestrate2020-11-26T18:04:57+10:30
South Australia is home to a large and varied contingent of Australian Defence organisation facilities including the Woomera Range Complex, Cultana Training Area, RAAF Base Edinburgh and Port Wakefield Proof and Experimental Establishment.
Woomera Range Complex
The Woomera Range Complex is the largest land-based test range in the world, covering 122,000 square kilometres.
Located about 500 kilometres north-west of Adelaide, Woomera Range Complex’s remoteness and quiet electromagnetic environment is ideal for complex air, ground and space test activities.
The Woomera Range Complex comprises the Woomera Test Range (Air Force Test Ranges Squadron), RAAF Base Woomera and the Nurrungar Test Range.
RAAF Base Woomera provides the essential operational support to the range, and includes the airfield, hangers, technical areas and village.
The range is used extensively by Australian and allied forces, and plays a significant role in Australia’s national security. With increased cooperation and joint exercises and training with the United States and other security partners, the demands on facilities such as Woomera are likely to increase. As such, additional investment of up to $600-900 million is programed to support leading-edge systems development.
A co-existence regime in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), the key element of the range, ensures access and use by non-Defence stakeholders, including pastoralists, indigenous peoples and the resources sector.
Non-Defence use of the WPA is administered by the WPA Coordination Office, a joint Australian–South Australian Government office.
Following a five-fold expansion to 2100 square kilometres, the Cultana Training Area is set to become the Australian Defence Force’s largest training area capable of supporting combined arms exercises.
Situated 370 kilometres north-west of Adelaide on the Spencer Gulf, Cultana has the ideal terrain and climate for year-round armoured, mechanised and cavalry forces training.
The Cultana Training Area is only one of two areas in Australia able to support joint and combined training. It is primarily used for Defence training activities or operations including:
combined arms manoeuvring training
live firing of ammunition, including small arms, field and medium artillery weapons and air-delivered weapons
air mobile and airborne operations including air to ground live firing
unmanned aerial system training activities, and/or
electronic warfare training activities.
The recent $85 million expansion of the training area allows the Australian Defence Force to raise, train and sustain the land force and prepare Australian soldiers for operational service through lifelike training activities reflecting current and expected future operational environments.
Port Wakefield Proof and Experimental Establishment
The Port Wakefield Proof and Experimental Establishment hosts weapons trials, munitions proofing and environmental testing for the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.
The 56 square kilometre site is 83 kilometres north of Adelaide, near the northern tip of Gulf St Vincent. Because of large tidal movements, it is the only range in Australia where projectiles can be fired into a coastal area and retrieved relatively undamaged for assessment.
Along with weapons testing, the site is also used for destruction of expired and unsafe ordnance. The site is not normally used for military training and carries out its assurance function for Defence throughout the year.
The base is also home to Army’s Horseshoe Barracks housing 1st Armoured Regiment and the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment of the 1st Brigade (Adelaide).
Major investment is underway for the construction of new infrastructure and facilities to support the recently-acquired P-8A Poseidon, due to be completed in mid-2020, along with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles, MC-55A Peregrine aircraft, MQ-9 Reapers, to be based at Edinburgh.
The Australian Government is committed to strengthening the Australian Defence Force’s electronic warfare capabilities and South Australia is committed to cementing the state’s position as the centre of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.