Tactical radar tested
By Flying Officer Georgina Lowe
of the deployment team after setting up the TADRS.
by FLGOFF Georgina Lowe
Forces new Tactical Air Defence Radar System (TADRS), incorporating
Lockheed Martins TPS-77 radar and its ancillary sub-systems,
has been successfully tested in the Northern Territory (NT).
The TADRS is a mobile platform that can conduct radar surveillance,
track incoming targets and direct aircraft to intercept them.
The TPS-77 is a major part of Project Air 5375, set up in 1998
to develop, build and integrate four operational TADRSs into the
The second operational evaluation of the TADRS was conducted from
March 19 to April 15 in the NT. Despite the high temperatures,
exceeding 30 degrees, 22 deployed members from No. 114
Mobile and Control Unit, No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit, Headquarters
No. 41 Wing and Headquarters Surveillance and Response Group
successfully set up a TADRS.
The TADRS deployment was not only the first deployment of the
TPS-77 away from Commonwealth property, but also the first of
a series of shadow operations.
Conducting shadow operations is a risk-lessening activity in which
the system being evaluated monitors and emulates fighter control
operations from a tactical air operations centre or other control
agency, to determine if the system can conduct similar functions.
Fighter controllers and air surveillance operators successfully
participated in a series of shadow operations during Exercise
Arnhem Thunder in the Darwin and Tindal restricted airspace.
Flight Lieutenant Steve Cutajar, Detachment Commander of the second
operational evaluation, said it was refreshing to have a new system
to work with, but much operational evaluation still remained to
Activities associated with the third operational evaluation started
in early May at RAAF Base Williamtown, with a TADRS deployed to
the Northern Territory from late May until June 24. These included
live air defence control of Air Force fighter aircraft from the