Seven Air Force personnel have graduated from the inaugural Airport Surveillance Radar – Next Generation (ASR-NG) fixed defence air traffic control surveillance sensor (FDATCSS) course at RAAF Base Amberley.

Their graduation represents a key milestone in the AIR5431 Phase 2 Program, with the five-week course providing select air traffic control maintenance specialists the knowledge and skills to maintain Air Force’s nine new FDATCSS, which are made by Hensoldt.

Flight Lieutenant Luke Kiebert, Phase 2 Lead in the Capability Transition Cell at Headquarters 44 Wing, said the FDATCSS would improve national air traffic management and collaboration between Defence and Airservices Australia. 

“Completion of this first FDATCSS maintainer course is another critical step towards achieving initial operating capability,” Flight Lieutenant Kiebert said.

“Once it moves beyond operational testing and evaluation, our 453 Squadron communication electronic technicians (CETECHs) at RAAF Base Williamtown are well-postured to provide Air Force’s first FDATCSS maintenance program.”

Sergeant Clinton Drechsler, a CETECH at Headquarters 44 Wing, was one of the graduates.

“I completed this course to enhance my current mustering skill set and to support course evaluation as part of my role in the capability transition cell,” Sergeant Drechsler said.

“FDATCSS is more software-centric than the current system and, although it was highly rewarding because it will enable CETECHs to more quickly and efficiently maintain the new radars, it was quite a challenging five weeks.”

Australian Public Service employees also graduated from the course.

Hensoldt’s program director Doug Cross said the trainer used for the course was state-of-the-art. 

“Hensoldt takes great pride in playing a major role in the delivery to Defence of this air traffic control capability and the training of personnel to support the asset in service,” Mr Cross said.