Home' Air Force News : September 3rd 2009 Contents 2 News
AIR FORCE September 3, 2009
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By SQNLDR Lisa Macnaughtan
A NEW breed of armament
technician has graduated from the
RAAF School of Technical Training
(RAAFSTT) armed with the knowl-
edge to meet the challenges posed
by the technologically advanced
weapons that Air Force will intro-
duce into service over the next 10
years -- Gunnies MkII have arrived.
The 14 personnel graduated in an
historic ceremony on August 27. It
was the first graduation of dedicated
armament technicians since 1991.
between aircraft and weapons means
technicians have to be armed with a
sound understanding of the range of
complex aircraft systems and their
interface with weapons.
Translating these capability
requirements into training modules
required the collaboration of staff
from the RAAFSTT and the Defence
Explosive Ordnance Training School.
Both schools developed a
course that met the requirements
of the Aeroskills Training Package
-- MEA 07 -- and Defence-specific
All the graduates have been posted
to F/A-18 units where they will com-
plete their skills logs before attaining
qualified technician status.
In addition to this on-the-job hon-
ing and recognition of their skills,
the graduates will undertake further
type-specific explosive ordnance and
avionics training at 278SQN.
Air Combat Group's 278SQN has
been busy preparing for the arrival
of the new armament technicians,
putting the final touches to the next
phase of their training.
As a key advocate of the need for
the mustering, ACG also contributed
to the graduation celebrations with
a flypast of two F-111s as part of a
THE CRC back home
story on page 3 last issue
incorrectly referred to 44WG
when it should have said
41WG. This was the edi-
tor's error and apologies are
extended to all concerned.
DELIVERY of the Wedgetail air-
craft will likely involve a radar that
will not fully meet contract specifica-
tions, according to Defence Minister
Senator Faulkner made the observa-
tion in a frank and wide-ranging address
on Governance and Defence, Some
Early Impressions to the Australian and
New Zealand School of Government in
Sydney on August 13.
Project Wedgetail is the acquisition
of six airborne early warning, command
and control platforms at a cost of more
than $4 billion.
"Wedgetail is highly complex, at the
leading edge of high technology and it's
no surprise there have been difficulties
along its development pathway," Senator
"Nine years after contract signature,
we have yet to complete testing of the
radar system, which is central to the
Wedgetail capability. It seems likely
at this point that initial delivery will
involve a radar that will still not fully
meet the contract specifications."
While considerable progress has been
made over the past six months, system
stability, radar performance, electronic
support measures and in-service support
contract issues are the significant out-
standing issues of concern.
Senator Faulkner said complexity had
also caused delay to Vigilare, the $271
million project to replace ground-based
air defence command and control sys-
tems for Air Force.
Vigilare will fuse data from myriad
sensors and sources, such as the Jindalee
Operational Radar Network, Wedgetail,
microwave radars (both civil and military),
tactical platforms such as fighter aircraft
and ships, and intelligence products from
both national and foreign sources. It is a
software-intensive project that seeks to
integrate more than five million lines of
"Again, complexity has created delay.
This project is run-
ning 42 months late,
and our shared task
here is to resolve
some of the prob-
lems and move it for-
ward faster," Senator
DMO are work-
ing cooperatively to
achieve the earliest capability delivery,
but expect another six months of delay."
On the issue of accommodation,
Senator Faulkner said Project Single
LEAP 2 was designed to deliver more
than 3000 additional living-in units
around Australia, but that project had
also been affected by external factors,
including the global financial crisis.
He said further investigations by
Defence to verify financing arrange-
ments incorporated in tender responses
would be required to ensure a value-for-
"This work is concluding and the
government is about to consider recom-
mendations from Defence for the pro-
gression of the project."
Senator Faulkner emphasised that 83
per cent of more than 200 Defence projects
closed in the past 10 years had been within
or below their approved budget.
The problems Defence has encoun-
tered in projects of concern and areas of
difficulty had a variety of causes, he said.
Cutting-edge technology was more sophis-
ticated and complex than ever before, and
the speed of change was accelerating.
"If the ADF is to maintain a warfight-
ing edge, it needs to take some risks, and
then manage those risks professionally
and tightly," he said.
Senator Faulkner closed his address
on a cautionary yet optimistic note.
"With all the challenges that I have
touched on ... you will not be surprised
to hear that we will inevitably fall short
of perfection and new problems are sure
to surface," he said.
"But I am very confident that, as a
result of all the good work that has been
done, as a result of the commitment,
hard work and resolve I have already
seen in Defence across the board and
at every level ... we have the appro-
priate governance framework to meet
these challenges and to strive for the
very highest standards of governance in
Minister fears delays in key projects
ON AUGUST 26 the High Court
of Australia ruled the Australian
Military Court (AMC) was constitu-
CDF ACM Angus Houston said
that the ADF's current system of try-
ing serious service offences had been
suspended, and he had directed that
interim measures be put in place to
fairly regulate the men and women of
AMC started operation in 2007
under the Defence Force Discipline
Act (DFDA) 1982 to deal with seri-
ous disciplinary offences, replacing
the former system of Courts-Martial
and Defence Force Magistrates.
The majority of service offences,
however, are dealt with summarily
at unit level without reference to the
AMC, and such issues are largely unaf-
fected by the High Court's decision.
The High Court unanimous-
ly found that the provisions of the
DFDA establishing the AMC were
invalid, because the AMC was exer-
cising the judicial power of the
Commonwealth but did not meet con-
ACM Houston said he intended to
carefully consider the court's decision
and legal advice before Defence pro-
vided a response to government that
would resolve the long-term future of
the ADF discipline system.
"In the short term, the govern-
ment will give priority to legislation
that reinstates the system of trials by
courts-martial and Defence Force
magistrates for serious service offenc-
es that would have been dealt with by
the AMC," ACM Houston said.
He said the effect of the decision
on AMC convictions and punish-
ments would be considered carefully
and guidance would be provided to
commanders as soon as possible.
"I remain committed to a mili-
tary discipline system that is just and
impartial, meets community expecta-
tions for transparency and independ-
ence, and at all times treats ADF
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin
said that regardless of the develop-
ments in the military justice system,
he expected all Air Force personnel to
display the highest standards of per-
sonal and professional discipline.
"A disciplined force is a key ele-
ment in delivering our commitment
to provide air power for Australia's
security," AIRMSHL Binskin said.
"I have full confidence that our
Air Force team will continue to per-
form in an exemplary manner."
SKY TRIBUTE: Two F-111s conduct a flypast during the graduation parade
of 1/08 Armament Technician Course.
Photo: AC Terry Hartin
Acknowledging the historic
significance of the day, parade
reviewing officer AIRCDRE Leo
Davies, Director General Capability
Planning--Air Force (and a former
82WG OC and CO 1SQN) said the
day signified the beginning of a new
era of armament technicians in the
"This has been a long time com-
ing and certainly has taken a concert-
ed effort from many people, some
of whom are here today," AIRCDRE
Davies said. "While I remember days
of laying a stick of 500lb bombs
down range, these were the weapons
of the old Air Force.
"We will need the Air Force team
to learn how to employ a number of
new weapons over the next decade
and these are the challenges that the
graduates today will face and why
the training of a dedicated armament
technician is so critical."
'Wedgetail is highly com-
plex, at the leading edge
of high technology and
it's no surprise there have
been difficulties along its
-- SENATOR JOHN FAULKNER
Gunnies MkII have arrived
To mark the 70th anniversary
of the formation of both
10SQN and 11SQN in
1939, three days of cel-
ebrations will be held from
September 24 to 26. An
invitation is extended to all
members who have at some
time been part of 10SQN,
11SQN or 492SQN or flown,
maintained or supported
the Catalina, Sunderland
or Neptune aircraft. Full
details of the event can be
found at www.ednwelfare.
com.au or email edn92wg.
gov.au for information.
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