History of 111th Air Defence Battery (111 AD Bty)
111th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery. Was raised as an independent battery from elements of the 103rd Heavy Anti-aircraft Battery, Royal Australian Artillery. The raising of the independent 111th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (111 LAA Bty) at Middle Head, NSW, on 21 May 1957 where it was equipped with 40mm Bofors Mark III Anti-Aircrcaft guns. Within a year, these guns were replaced by electrically powered 40 mm Bofors number 12 guns. The Battery moved to Holsworthy as part of the 1st Infantry Brigade in August 1957. The Battery enjoyed a short stint at North Head, Manly, in 1959 but moved back to Holsworthy the same year.
111 LAA Bty was redesignated 111th Surface-to-air Guided Weapon Battery in late 1961.Training began in anticipation of the Hawk missile system being introduced into the Australian Army. However, the cost, coupled with the fact that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was equipped with the Bloodhound missile system, training was cancelled and Battery reverted to its original name – 111 LAA Bty.
In May 1964, 111th Battery was ordered to deploy to RAAF Base Butterworth, Malaysia, during the Malaysian/Indonesian Confrontation. Within three weeks, the Battery was aboard HMAS Sydney. The original six month was progressively extended until June 1966 (two years later). 111 LAA was replaced at Butterworth by 110th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (110 LAA Bty), and returned to its new location, Woodside.
111 LAA Bty retained the 40 mm Bofors Gun even after the formation of the 16 LAA Regt in 1969 and subsequent fielding of the Redeye Surface to Air Missile (SAM) by 110 LAA Bty in 1970. In 1971, however, a unit manning crisis resulted in the non-manning of 110 LAA Bty – all the Redeye detachments and command post (CP) personnel and equipment were posted to 111 LAA Bty.
On 6 June 1973, the Bofors Guns was paraded for the last time. The unit was to change title, and a new establishment authorised. Under the new unit designation, 111 LAA Bty became 111th Air Defence Battery (Light) (111 AD Bty (Lt)) and was formally equipped with the Redeye SAM.
In 1976 a new training establishment came into effect and 111 AD Bty (Lt) exercised with the 1st Division as “Corps Troops” under the guise of Divisional Air Defence Battery (Light). In 1978, 111 AD Bty (Lt) was officially re-designated 111th Divisional Air Defence Battery (Light) and allocated to 1st Division, but was retained under command to 16 AD Regt (Lt) for local administration.
In 1987, 111th Air Defence Battery (Light) was re-equipped with the RBS-70 surface-to-air weapon system. In 1991, RBS-70 detachments from 111th Air Defence Battery (Light) were deployed aboard HMAS Success and Westralia for operational service during the Gulf War.
In 1998, the procurement of a Clip-on Night Device (COND), coupled with the acquisition of a P-Star Radar in 1999, provided an early warning and 24 hour capability for RBS-70.
From October 2001 – July 2003 has seen three RBS-70 detachments serving on either HMAS Kanimbla or Manora as part of the War against Terrorism and more recently The war to disarm Iraq.
History of 110th Air Defence Battery (110 AD Bty)
In 1964, a decision was made to raise a second light anti-aircraft battery to provide trained reinforcements. The 110th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (110 LAA Bty) was subsequently raised at Woodside, South Australia, on 10 May 1965.
On 14 June 1966, 110 LAA Bty departed on active service to relieve 111 LAA Bty at RAAF Butterworth. 110 LAA Bty returned to Woodside after 6 May 1969.
In 1970, 110 LAA Battery was re-equipped with the Redeye surface-to-air missile system. In 1971, however, a unit manning crisis resulted in the posting of all 110 LAA Bty Redeye detachments and command post (CP) personnel and equipment to 111 LAA Bty. 110 LAA Bty was not disestablished and remained on the Australian Order of Battle (ORBAT), but was to be essentially unmanned until 1978.
In 1978, upon the Australian Government commitment to purchase the Rapier surface to air missile system, 110 LAA Bty was renamed 110th Air Defence Battery (110 AD Bty). 110 AD Bty received the first Rapier equipment (B1 version) in late 1979, and it was officially brought into service in 1980. The Radar Trackers (providing all weather, day/night capability) arrived in 1981.
The equipment was upgraded in April 2002 under Project Land 140 (Rapier Life of Type Extension) and will remain in its current configuration (version B1M).
Rapier was replaced by RBS-70 in 2005.