Gas guzzlers line up at Tindal RAAF Base

FUEL BURNER: A FA/18 Hornet takes off from the Tindal RAAF Base today.
FUEL BURNER: A FA/18 Hornet takes off from the Tindal RAAF Base today.

THEY are using a megalitre of jet fuel at Tindal RAAF Base every single day.

That’s one million litres of fuel.

They’ve eaten 12,000 meals in the past two weeks, at all times of the day and night, especially the night.

This is all part of two military exercises running concurrently, Exercise Diamond Storm and Exercise Arnhem Thunder, both making great use of the pointy end of Australia’s military preparedness, Tindal.

“”Tindal is doing exactly what it was designed to do,” a proud base chief Andy Tatnell said today.

The skies above and around Katherine have been rumbling with the arrival and departure of many military aircraft over the past fortnight, mostly unseen.

Wing Commander Tatnell said we may have missed the US tilt-rotor Osprey which came at night, the Wedgetail E7, the Heron and various other aircraft but mostly the FA/18 Hornets.

“I apologise if it shaking a few homes but this exercise calls for a lot of realism, which means a lot of night-flying,” he said.

“They are flying high, low, slow and fast.

“Tindal is the best place in the country to conduct this sort of exercise, we have lots of assets working together.

CAME AT NIGHT: The tilt rotor V-22 Osprey came to Katherine at night. Picture: supplied.

CAME AT NIGHT: The tilt rotor V-22 Osprey came to Katherine at night. Picture: supplied.

“There are more than double the number of assets here on the ground today than we normally have, more than 300 additional personnel on the base.”

Wing Commander Tatnell said the wide, open spaces of Tindal and the proximity to nearby bombing ranges were perfect for the intensive training program which will run through until the middle of next week.

Officially, the aim of Exercise Arnhem Thunder is to develop the same advanced air combat skills that have been so effective in Iraq and Syria over the past three years.

Wing Commander Tatnell said he appreciated that some people were interested in the military hardware in use at the base and while he couldn’t give exact flying times, said he was happy if people wanted to watch operations from the adjacent civilian airport, owned by Katherine Town Council.

The RAAF’s Flying Operations page can be found on :

http://www.airforce.gov.au/RAAFBases/?RAAF-EYD01E6ZiPbV0Cl+C+GKu4PSUCVwrBfQ

The exercises involves pilots, intelligence officers and air combat officers across a range of Air Force platforms.

Conducted by the Air Warfare Centre, the aim of the AWIC is to graduate expert leaders and instructors capable of tactics development, validation and instruction.