RAAF Mobile Control Tower

In 2010 we were approached at the PACIFIC Naval Exposition by a large German Company who have offices here in Australia about doing a job for them. They were about to supply the RAAF with a new, very needed infrastructure item. The RAAF, after tours of duty in Banda Aceh, Indonesia following the earth quake and tsunami in 2004, felt the need for a dedicated mobile air traffic control system. ROHDE & SCHWARZ were selected to provide three TAOT fully mobile control towers.

These towers, which comprise of a modified 20 foot ISO shipping container, fitted to an Australian built trailer operate on a hydraulic scissor lift with raises them more than six metres into the air so that the controllers have a good view over the runway and tarmac areas of an airfield. The tower contains all the necessary communications and weather data collection services needed to control a large number of aircraft on the ground, during takeoff and approach to the airfield.

Information was supplied and the models were started. R & S required a large display model for their office in Sydney and a pair of smaller models for presentation. We decided upon 1:10 for the display model and 1:35 for the smaller versions.

During construction of the large model it was discovered however that the plans supplied were in fact for a German Air Force version and it wasn’t until photos of the Australian version on trials were made available, that we found the scissor lift on our version was in reverse, so the model had to be completely rebuilt.

Luckily this information came in time to build the smaller models correctly from the outset. It was also decided during the construction of the large model that it would not be made to collapse for transport.

The 1:10 scale model was completed with clear windows and all internal features. The model when raised sits at a height of over 1 metre and with the radio aerials and wind sensors on the roof this goes to nearly 1.2 metres.

Nearly the entire model is constructed of Evergreen Styrene plastic cut on our flat bed laser cutter and assembled. The wheels were cast from polyurethane resin after producing a master from a piece of PVC pipe and laser cut styrene tread and rims.

Having cut the large model using the laser is was just a matter of scaling the drawings down and cutting the parts for the smaller models. The wheels, rims and mud guards were much easier to come by as there are ready made items for the model truck market.

Each of the models were fitted to a polished timber base and the rigging completed. Each corner of the cabin is secured to the opposing sides fold out leg by a steel cable. The folding stairs were fitted in place and each model was covered in a once piece display case.

Following the delivery of the three models, R & S ordered a further four models. A 1:16 scale model was completed in February 2013 and delivered to the R & S stand at the Avalon Air Show and the other three 1:35 scale models were delivered in early 2013 of which one went to Germany and the other two models presented to the RAAF. A follow-on model was completed and is now on display in the front window of our shop in Uralla.