By Flying Officer Laura Johnson and Flying Officer Jaimee Maika
does an occasion the magnitude of the 60th anniversary of Victory
in the Pacific (VP) Day also mark the final deployment of a major
of 3CRU unfold the AN/TPS-43 radar in Kings Park, near
the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, for its final deployment
The radar was part of Defence displays during the national
Salute to Veterans, held on August 13 and 14 in Canberra,
to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Victory in the
FLGOFF Laura Johnson
Along with commemorating the many Australians who served during
World War II, the Salute to Veterans event held in Canberra on
August 13 and 14 also marked the farewell deployment for No. 3
Control and Reporting Units venerable AN/TPS-43 Tactical
The radar has been in service with the Air Force for more than
two decades and has been deployed for many exercises and operations
Originally designed as a disposable radar for use by US forces
during the Vietnam War, Australias first AN/TPS-43 was brought
back from Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1978.
Since then it has been operated by No. 3 Control and Reporting
Unit and No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit.
The veteran has served Air Force well for what was planned to
be a throwaway piece of kit. This would not have been possible
without scrupulous maintenance programs and the ingenuity and
inventiveness of highly trained technical personnel.
Its last operational deployment was to Canberra for VP Day, and
while the radar was not turning and burning, it was
one of the stars of the show.
Nine personnel from No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit and one from
No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit accompanied the radar
and cabin to Canberra on its last hurrah. It was mounted at a
static display in Kings Park.
An estimated 3000 patrons visited the display on Sunday August
Members of the public were fascinated with the display detailing
the many facets of air battle management and the different functions
of No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit.
Visitors to the display included past and present Defence members
as well as the general public. Many visitors had worked with the
AN/TPS-43 during their service careers, while others were members
of the project team working with the AN/TPS-77 radar that will
Younger visitors relished the opportunity to clamber through the
radar cabin and the line to sit in the drivers seat of an
Actros truck seemed endless.
After a long, sunny weekend on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin,
the AN/TPS-43 was folded down for the final time. It was fitting
that No. 3 Control and Reporting Units veteran radar saw
its farewell deployment in conjunction with the salute to other
The radars final resting place will now be in a memorial
display in front of the Eastern Region Operations Centre, while
the cabin and displays will go to Fighter World at Williamtown.