The RAAF has agreed to review its future training requirements at the Evans Head weapons range on the northern NSW coast following protests from local residents and fishermen.
The review order by Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Mark Binskin comes after local media reported increased restrictions in the airspace and waters surrounding the range would be put in place to allow for an increase in training activities by Amberley based F/A-18F Super Hornets, specifically the use of laser designators on their ATFLIR targeting pods. Local fishermen, surfers and wildlife experts all commented that the added restrictions would adversely affect their activities and endanger rare fauna.
“I have directed that further consideration of reactivating the range for air-to-ground gunnery be suspended, pending a total review into future training requirements at Evans Head,” AIRMSHL Binskin said in a statement. “The review is examining the detailed range requirements for Air Force’s new Super Hornets. Air Force values its relationship with the Evans Head community. This review will include extensive consultation with local and state authorities, recreational groups and industry in finding a balance between Defence requirements and community needs.”