The Evans Head Air Weapons Range is an important training facility for the Air Force.
The weapons range was first officially designated by Governor General McKell as a bombing, air gunnery and rocket firing range on July 13, 1949. Air Force has used it consistently since that time as a primary training area for military aircraft.
The F/A-18F Super Hornets operated by No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron, based at RAAF Base Amberley are now the primary user of the Evans Head Air Weapons Range. This is the only weapons range within the training radius of the F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft from their home base.
While Defence was refurbishing the bombing and air-to-ground gunnery targets and their scoring systems at the weapons range, the Super Hornets flew bombing and air-to-ground gunnery flight paths at the weapons range without firing their guns or releasing weapons to achieve some of their training objectives.
In 2013 Defence finished refurbishing the air-to-ground gunnery targets and scoring system at the range. In September 2013 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft completed successful testing of the air-to-ground gunnery targets, scoring system and range procedures.
Air Force has commenced air-to-ground gunnery training by firing their guns at the ground gunnery targets on the weapons range in accordance with the published Range Use Schedule in consultation with the Evans Head Air Weapons Range Community Advisory Panel.
Air Force will recommence bombing training by releasing inert weapons at the range in the near future. There are no plans for Air Force to use high explosive weapons on the range.
Air Force has recommenced bombing training by releasing inert weapons at the range. There are no plans for Air Force to use high explosive weapons on the range. An Air Force review of the range in 2019 determined that EVDAWR is suitable as a gunnery and bombing practice area for the F-35A Lightning II. F-35A plans to utilise the EVDAWR for air to surface bombing training and gunnery activities in a similar manner as the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
Whenever weapon activities are being undertaken, the Defence Practice Area Public Safety Exclusion Zones will be enforced to ensure public safety.