Woomera Test Range

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Map of the facility, across the centre of South Australia.

The RAAF Woomera Test Range is a weapons testing facility in South Australia. It is run by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).[1] It covers and area of 127,000 square kilometres (49,000 sq mi), and is the world's largest weapons test facility on land.[2][3] The range is a restricted area, called the Woomera Prohibited Area. The airspace above it is also restricted, and is called the Woomera Restricted Airspace.

The range was originally set up as a place for the British to test missiles during World War II.[4] The British asked to do weapons testing here (in the centre of Australia), because not many people lived there.[4] A Commonwealth weapons design and test project, called the Australian-Anglo Joint Project, was signed in 1946.[1] The range originally had an area of 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi).[2][3]

Between 1955 and 1963, the British ran a series of seven nuclear-weapon tests at Maralinga, then inside the range. The Joint Project ran until 1980, when the British withdrew from the program.[1] The range is still used as a testing site by the Australian Defence Force. Access is leased to foreign militaries and private companies for their own testing of weapons.[1][2][5]

It is named after the Dharuk word for a spear-thrower.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2 . OCLC 271822831 .
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 DeBelle, Penelope (25 July 2009). "Blast from the past". The Advertiser. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/blast-from-the-past/story-e6frebt3-1225754460377. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wellfare, John (24 February 2005). "Our vital wasteland". Air Force News (Royal Australian Air Force). http://www.defence.gov.au/news/raafnews/EDITIONS/4702/features/feature02.htm. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Beadell, Len (1975). Still in the Bush. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. ISBN 0-7270-0020-9 .
  5. Wheatley, Kim (17 November 2009). "International allies flock to Woomera testing range". Adelaide Advertiser. http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,,26359117-2682,00.html. Retrieved 12 July 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]