Pilbara Regiment

Pilbara Regiment

The Pilbara Regiment is a regiment of the Australian Army which is infantry based, but has a significantly different role than a standard infantry unit. (It is a Regional Force Surveillance Unit (RFSU), and as its name suggests, surveillance is its primary role - the unit would rarely, by choice, carry out offensive or even defensive operations)


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Australian Department of Defence recognised a need for a military presence in the north of Australia, in the form of an integrated land, sea and air surveillance network. Part of this involved the raising of reserve infantry units that would act as the "eyes and ears" of the Australian Army in the north. One of these was to be made up of men living in the Pilbara region of NW Australia. On January 26, 1982, the 5th Independent Rifle Company, The Pilbara Regiment was raised. Major David Hudson commanded the unit for its first three years. The company was redesignated as a full regiment in 1985, continuing its original role as a Regional Force Surveillance Unit.


The Pilbara Regiment is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units tasked with the surveillance of the inhospitable areas of north-eastern, northern and north-western Australia. The official mission of the Pilbara Regiment is: "To provide the Australian Army with information by conducting surveillance operations to contribute to an effective Australian Defence Force surveillance network in the North West of Australia (Pilbara Region)". The regiment has responsibility for an area of 1.3 million square kilometres from Port Hedland to Carnarvon in Western Australia, and from the coast to the border with the Northern Territory; this is approximately 1/6 of the total land area of Australia. The Pilbara Regiment carries out its mission by maintaining a detailed knowledge of its Area of Operations; conducting reconnaissance patrols by foot, vehicle and watercraft; conducting surveillance from static observation posts (OP's); and by systematic communication and liaison with police, customs, other regional authorities, and with local landowners.

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