SUPER Hornet jets from the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley will return to the Evans Head Air Weapons Range next week for training operations.

The twin-engine F/A 18F fighter jets are expected to arrive on February 10, and training will include live air-to-ground gunnery, and a week of night operations.

Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Tony Grady, said air-to-ground gunnery operations returned to Evans Head last year for the first time since the 1980s, when those operations were conducted by F-111 aircraft.

He said it was an important milestone for Defence.

In the interest of public safety, access to the southern overwater Defence Practice Area will be restricted.

Air Commodore Grady, said six weeks of air-to-ground gunnery operations were planned on the range during the first six months of the year.

“The Evans Head Air Weapons Range Community Advisory Panel, representing local Northern Rivers communities, met in December last year with 82 Wing representatives from RAAF Base Amberley and local range personnel to discuss the training schedule with a view to minimising the impact on the communities adjacent to the range,” Air Commodore Grady said.

From February 10 to 14, the southern overwater DPA will be closed between midday and 5pm during air-to-ground gunnery operations.

Further training is planned for March and May.

“Defence personnel will operate a ‘red flag’ system whenever the Range is active,” Air Commodore Grady said.

“Flags are erected at key points on the boundary to signal fast jets are operating on the range.

“Range personnel patrol the area to ensure people don’t stray inside while operations are being conducted.”

For more information: Range Use Schedule

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