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Weapons are not released from aircraft at Defence bases. Defence pilots can only use their weapons on targets in confines of gazetted Defence Practice Areas.

Military aircraft train on a number of restricted Defence weapons ranges, including Salt Ash Air Weapons Range near Newcastle (NSW), Evans Head Air Weapons Range near Ballina (NSW), Delamere Range Facility near Katherine (NT) and the Woomera Range Complex (SA).

Defence uses a range of weapons, including:

  • Guns for air-to-ground gunnery;
  • Practice (inert or dummy) bombs;
  • Conventional ballistic bombs;
  • Laser and GPS guided bombs;
  • Guided missiles;
  • Flares; and
  • Smoke markers.
A C-130 Hercules releases flares during Exercise Red Flag in Alaska. Flares are a self-protection measure for aircraft against missile attack.

There are a number of safeguards in place for the use of weapons. While precision targeting is the goal of the Air Force training, public safety is of primary importance. Thus Defence Practice Area public safety exclusion zones are established to allow a safety buffer in the very unlikely event of weapon system malfunction.