Home' City West News : August 11th 2010 Contents CityWest [ 15 ]
‘Pigs’ to ‘Rhinos’ for RAAF WSOs
The new capabilities offered by the
Super Hornet are obvious to WSO
and Executive Officer of 82 Wing,
WGCDR Terence Deeth.
Starting his career as a F-111
navigator more than 20 years ago,
WGCDR Deeth spent much of his
adult life either in, or in jobs related
to, the ‘Pig’.
“ When I was first posted to F-111s,
the aircraft had 1960’s technology
avionics that really required a lot
of navigational ‘effort’ to keep
everything on the rails,” WGCDR
“It had an old generation Litton
‘14A’ inertial navigation system. It
didn’t have GPS, the kit would drift
away as soon as the position was
accepted and you had to constantly
update it, largely through the
radar system, often at night in bad
weather at just a few hundred feet
off the ground, flying at 500 to 600
Kts Ground Speed.”
“It had both a science and an art to
it, especially the air-to-ground radar
interpretation required to update
the aircraft’s navigation solution.”
The F-111 avionics upgrade
program in the 1990s meant that
aircrew could spend less time on
pure navigation tasks and had more
time to attend to weapons systems
“We could focus more and more
on the tactical elements of a sortie,”
WGCDR Deeth said.
“ That’s not to say that we did just
navigation in the early days, we still had
time-share tasks and roles working with
the Pave Tack search and track system,
the electronic warfare and weapons
systems, secure communications, and
backing-up the pilot in more traditional
The ‘Rhino’ provides WSOs with state-
The move from F-111 to Super Hornet aircraft at 82 Wing signifies an enhanced role for RAAF Weapon
Systems Officers, pronounced ‘Wizzos’.
of-the-art equipment and a major
leap forward in capability.
An Active Electronically Scanned
Array (AESA) radar allows the Super
Hornet to broadcast powerful radar
signals while remaining stealthy.
Currently on his Super Hornet
conversion course, WGCDR Deeth said
apart from the actual ‘hands and feet’
flying of the aircraft, anything that can
be done in the front cockpit, can be
done in the back seat by the WSO.
“ The crew can be working on
different problems in the battlefield.
For example, the pilot might be
working on the air-to-air battle and
at the same time the Wizzo might be
prosecuting a target on the ground ,”
WGCDR Deeth said.
Although a little nostalgic for the
passing of the F-111 era, WGCDR
Deeth is excited about the Super
Hornet and his new role next year
as Commanding Officer of 6SQN,
starting in January 2011.
“ We are moving onto something
better, an aircraft that will elevate
Australia’s ability to generate
significant Air Power that is more
relevant to our current and future
requirements,” WGCDR Deeth said.
Photo: Executive Officer 82 Wing and WSO
WGCDR Terence Deeth is currently on the
conversion course for the Super Hornet.
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Where are you from?
My Father was in the RAAF, so we
moved around a lot. I was living in
Melbourne prior to joining the RAAF.
Why did you join the RAAF?
I had a great love of jets and I always
wanted to fly.
What is your job?
RAAF Weapon Systems Officers
(Wizzo) on the Super Hornet. I
originally trained as a Navigator and
flew F-111s for four years. Then I was
selected for the Super Hornet.
What training did
you need for this job?
I studied for three years at ADFA
in Canberra, I did my Navigator
training at at the Canadian Forces
Air Navigation School (one year) in
Winnipeg, then I did the Intro Strike
Navigator Course on
the Hawk aircraft in
then I was on ‘58
Opcon’ in 2006. I
started Super Hornet
training with the US
Navy at Lemoore
Naval Base in the
USA last January.
What do you like
most about the job?
Obviously, it’s fun and exciting and
it never gets benign or boring. You
never know everything- there are
always things to learn and there
always things to get better at.
Best experience to date?
Taking part in Exercise Red Flag
in the US and working with the
Where do you hope
to go from here?
Being very new on the Super
Hornet, I want to fly with the jet for
a few years and become good and
experienced at it. I will be instructing
at 6SQN next year, so I’m looking
forward to teaching others. I just
want to keep flying for as long as I
FLTLT Mathew Stade
6/08/10 12:01 PM
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