Page 24 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 24

Preparing for Pitch Black
cal information to provide military aircrew and mission planners with relevant, timely and high quality information. Among its functions are the production and distribu- tion of aeronautical information, includ- ing mission planning, airfield foundation data, standard instrument departures pro- cedures, en-route charts (both Instrument Flight Rules and topographical), standard arrival routes, approach procedures and vertical obstruction databases.
“The Chief of Air Force requires that aeronautical information is managed in a coordinated manner for effective raise, train, sustain, Joint and Coalition opera- tions,” AIS-AF CO, Wing Commander Chris Dunstan explained to ADM.
“Our vision going forward is very much linked to Air Force’s Plan Jericho and Air Force Strategy, where we’re looking at the provision of aeronautical information for the information age and that’s very much focussed on the shift from paper-based to digital products, getting accurate, as- sured data from the source to the users as quickly as possible.”
Within the unit, different areas are re- sponsible for the Operations, Production and Engineering Support functions.
“We receive information from national aviation authorities, mainly covering Aus- tralia, but also areas throughout our region, and then the data team validate and enter the information,” WGCDR Dunstan said. “We conduct a ‘roll’ of our database once every 28 days, where all the changes are committed into it. We also receive a data file from the US National Geospatial-Intelli- gence Agency and we merge it with our own data to produce what we call ‘AusDAFIF’, which is an enriched data set that covers the
PITCH Black is the RAAF’s biennial major air combat exercise and this year it will be held over a vast swathe of the NT from late July until the middle of August. Every day (and on most evenings) during the working week, upwards of 100 military aircraft – predominantly fast jets, but also including transports, tankers and surveillance aircraft – will take off from Darwin or Tindal to perform their missions. During this period the normal volume of commercial and gen- eral aviation into and around the NT will also need to continue their operations in a safe and unhindered manner.
Working alongside the civilian authori- ties, Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the unit responsible for providing information for the safety of pilots, crews and passengers of civilian and military aircraft during exer- cise is the Aeronautical Information Service – Air Force (AIS-AF).
Producing aeronautical information
Based at the historic Victoria Barracks in Melbourne, AIS-AF is the organisation charged with the production and supply of accurate aeronautical information for the ADF and its role is therefore much wider and more complex than supporting Pitch Black alone.
AIS-AF is unusual in that it is an Air Force unit, part of the RAAF Air Warfare
Centre and commanded by an Air Force of- ficer, but staffed largely by Australian Pub- lic Service personnel. Under the command of Wing Commander Chris Dunstan, the unit is made up of 12 Permanent Air Force personnel, four RAAF Reservists and 27 APS staff, together with a five-strong air charting section of APS personnel, who belong to the Australian Geospatial-Intel- ligence Organisation (AGO) in Bendigo but are co-located within AIS-AF at Vic- toria Barracks.
Part of the Test and Evaluation Director- ate of the Air Warfare Centre, the unit is re- sponsible for the management of aeronauti-
In late May, one little known, but critically important unit was working hard to put the final touches to the production of data which will ensure efficient and safe flying operations during the forthcoming Pitch Black
air combat exercise.
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