In the windswept plains of South Australia, against bright pigments of red soil, lies the Woomera Test Range (WTR). This remote location, stretching over 122,000 square kilometres – at approximately the same size of England, it remains the largest land-based test range in the Western world – and is the epicentre of Australia’s military and aerospace testing. As a village designed specifically for military personnel, Woomera has been a hub of activity, hosting a game-changing operation led by Raytheon Australia. The project at hand: a rigorous examination of the LAND 19 Phase 7B Short Range Ground Based Air Defence (SRGBAD) system – an advanced defence mechanism for detecting, tracking, engaging and guiding missiles against their targets – set to revolutionise Australia’s short range air defence capabilities.
LAND 19 Senior Program Manager Paul Szoboszlay said, “Seeing the whole system brought together and operating in its intended environment reinforces to our team the contribution we are making towards our ultimate objective, which is to put awesome capability into the hands of the Australian warfighter. By collaborating and engaging with our industry partners, we are delivering a program that not only meets the customer’s needs but also reinforces Raytheon Australia’s role as the capability partner for Defence.”
Henri Westell, the Flight Trial Lead, recalled the extensive scope of the project. “The Flight Trial was a mammoth task. His words capture the magnitude of the trial, which aimed to test the SRGBAD system’s effectiveness against live air targets in a controlled setting. There’s a significant amount of planning that goes into a trial as large and complex as this. The scope of the task was only realised through the hard work of a committed and competent interorganisational team. The recipe for conducting a successful trial involves many different ingredients. Planning, communication and adaptability are extremely important factors. After all of that, you have to determine how to do it safely.”
The LAND 19 Flight Trial is a mission of significant proportions, aimed at strengthening the nation’s peace, stability and safety in an ever-evolving global defence landscape. Raytheon collaborated with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) to develop an ‘Australianised’ version of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) in order to meet the SRGBAD requirement. The LAND 19 Flight Trial was a landmark operation, setting the stage for a new era of integrated air and missile defence operations. The successful completion of the trial confirms the SRGBAD system’s accuracy and capability, proving it can perform its primary mission: detecting, tracking, engaging and guiding missiles against their targets. As such, it stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation and meticulous planning, marking a significant step forward in Australia’s defence capabilities.