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February 2, 2012
A CAREER full of opportunities and
good people to share them with has
kept AIRMSHL John Harvey pulling
on the uniform for 35 years.
AIRMSHL Harvey retired as
Chief of Capability Development
Group (CCDG) on January 14 after
35 years of service to the ADF.
He said he never dreamed as a
young navigator that he would reach
the rank of AIRMSHL or have
the opportunities he had enjoyed
throughout his career.
"While a key part of my career
has been focused on technology -- a
key factor of the enjoyment in those
opportunities is the people I have
worked with throughout my time,"
AIRMSHL Harvey said.
"So working with very dedicated,
professional people with a common
interest to do a good job was a key
feature that has made my time in the
Air Force so enjoyable."
He was posted to RAAF Base
Amberley from training and
counts having worked closely with
three generations of aircraft -- the
Canberra bomber, the F-111 and
the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) -- as a
The JSF, he said, was very
much the future of the Air Force
and would mark the arrival of fifth
generation aircraft technology to
AIRMSHL Harvey said the
capacity of the JSF to collect, pro-
cess and provide information to
pilots was a key feature in "future
proofing" the Air Force. The new
aircraft is due to come into service
"The JSF will be Australia's first
stealth aircraft but the information
collection and information process-
ing capability is possibly the big
change we will see," he said.
"The information processing
capacity on board is about 10,000
times the processing capacity of the
Hornets and the capability of the
sensors on board to bring that infor-
mation together is the key."
AIRMSHL Harvey said he
had completed a number of very
rewarding and enjoyable postings
in his career, including a memora-
ble posting as Defence Attaché to
southern Europe. Subsequent post-
ings in senior positions in the capa-
bility development area, including
Director General (DG) Aerospace
Development, DG New Air Combat
Capability and CCDG had brought
him into intimate association with
the Air Force's future aircraft.
Along with the advances in tech-
nology, he said the professionalism
of the Air Force had increased mark-
edly over the last 35 years.
"I look back to those days, back
to '78 when I went to the Canberras
from nav course and it was a much
more relaxed environment," he said.
"People did a very good job with
very old equipment but we didn't have
the professional standards we have
He said it was the opportunities of
service life he would remember as the
highlights of serving the nation.
"The biggest thing I will leave
the Air Force with is being grateful
for the opportunities I have had --
and the people I have shared them
with -- things that I could not have
done in any other job."
WHAT A RIDE: AIRMSHL John Harvey (ret'd) never dreamed as a young
navigator that he would reach the rank of AIRMSHL. Photo: Graham McBean
for 35 years
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