The 16th Air Defence Regiment (16 AD Regt) is the youngest Regiment in the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. Its origins can be traced to the formation of two independent Batteries – The 110th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (raised on 10 May 1965), and the 111th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (raised on 21 May 1957) – at Woodside, South Australia. The amalgamation of these two Batteries on 2 June 1969 was the foundation of the 16th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (16 LAA Regt). Both Batteries were equipped with the 40MM No. 12 Bofors Anti-Aircraft Guns.
At this time the Vietnam War was at its peak and many personnel were deployed with other units (Field Artillery and otherwise) in Vietnam. Although no Australian LAA unit served in Vietnam, personnel from 16 LAA Regt manned 40mm Bofors guns during this time on the landing craft of the 32nd Small Ships Squadron while on operations in South Vietnamese waters.
With the introduction of the Redeye Missile System in January of 1970, The Regiment was re-organised to include both gun and SAM (Surface to Air Missile) detachments. The Regiment worked closely with the RAAF on Air Defence Exercises held in Darwin and played an important role in the planning and execution of Air Defence exercises in Australia.
In 1971, acute manning shortages restricted manning to only one Battery (111 LAA Bty), although 110 LAA Bty was not disestablished and was still on the Australian Order of Battle (ORBAT).
On 6 June 1973, the 40MM Bofors Guns were paraded with the Regiment for the last time, a significant occasion in the short history of 16 LAA Regiment. This occasion also marked the next phase of the role the Regiment was undertaking in the progression toward full Surface to Air Missile Defence capability.
Discussions throughout the 1970s about the requirement for Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) in the Army resulted in the Australian Government committing to the purchase of the Rapier Ground Based Missile Defence System in 1977. The 110th Air Defence Battery was re-established on 1 July 1978 and the unit was renamed 16th Air Defence Regiment (16 AD Regt) the same day. 16 AD Regt Workshops was raised to provide repair and recovery support for the Regiment.
110 AD Bty received the first Rapier equipment from 1979, and it was officially brought into service in 1980. and the Radar Trackers (providing all weather, day/night capability) arrived in 1981. In December 1984, replacement for Redeye was announced, and in March 1987, RBS-70 was introduced into 111 AD Bty (Lt).
In 1991, RBS-70 detachments from 111 AD Bty (Lt) were deployed aboard HMAS Success and Westralia for operational service during the Gulf War. This was repeated in support of the International Coalition Against Terror (ICAT) aboard HMAS Kanimbla and Manoora during 2001-2002 and more recently a RBS-70 detachment was used aboard HMAS Kanimbla during The Coalition War disarming Iraq.
In May 2003, 16 AD Regt was allocated 83 million dollars to be used to replace the Rapier Missile system with an up-graded RBS-70 system. This replacement will be completed during 2005. In August 2003, a contract was signed for a new simulator trainer to be built at 16 AD Regt. This new simulator is a state of the art facility which provides a far more realistic training environment for the operators of the RBS-70 system.