3SQN History

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16 Feb 1967 - 17 Feb 1969

The Sabres were handed over to 2OCU and the SQN converted to the Mirage IIIO. The Mirage was designed as a high altitude interceptor and was the RAAF’s first and only Mach 2 fighter. Whilst 75SQN became proficient at High altitude intercepts, 3SQN became ground attack and photo recce specialists with the Mirage, hence the camouflage. The SQN operated from Tindal during exercises in the top end during 1968. By January 1969 preparations for the move back to Butterworth had begun. The SQN left Williamtown on the 14 February 1969, staging through Townsville, Darwin, and Surabaya in Indonesia then onto Butterworth.

  • Barry Huey,
  • Eddy Jacobs,
  • Allan McDonald,
  • T.A. Jamieson,
  • Neil Rothery,
  • Ron Ispen,
  • Ron Daunt,
  • Bruce Donald.
  • Steve Viser,
  • Jack McCosker,
  • Gary Hansberry,


3SQN Safety Equipment Worker performing a Before Flight on a Mirage Pilots Flying Helmet. The Helmets are GENTEX HGU-2A/P’s, the Masks are MEL Aviation “P”& “Q”s, the Life Jacket is a RFD MK 8. ~ RAAF Photo

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Old 3SQN patch from the late 60s & 3SQN plaque. Both pictures from Gary Hansberry.

Mirage pilots at Darwin during 1968. ~ 3SQN Photo

14th February 1969, 3SQN Mirages ready for the ferry flight to Butterworth. ~ 3SQN Photo

17 Feb 1969 - 31 Mar 1986

A3-97 climbs out of Butterworth ~ Photo 3SQN

At Butterworth 3SQN joined 75SQN and a rivalry commenced that continued for many a year. The SQN also did regular detachments to Singapore flying against Lightnings, Hunters, Vulcans and others. In 1970 the Mirage tails acquired the frill neck lizard and the pilots wore orange flying suits. At the end of 1973 the CO was directed to remove the lizard from the tail and the flying bomb went on. On the 5th December 1977 3SQN lost its last Mirage in a crash, the SQN operated the Mirage for another 8 and a half years without loosing another Mirage, in fact 3SQN hasn’t lost a fighter jet since that date and now has over 29 years of flying with no crashes. The 80s saw trips to the Philippines flying against F4, F5, F111, F15 and F16s. With 75SQN going back to Darwin, 3SQN was left to do the Tengah/Paya Lebar detachments alone. SQNLDR Baz Turner became the first Aussie pilot to attain 3000 hrs in the Mirage in 1984. On the 31 March 1986 all the Mirages, equipment and most personnel were transferred to the reformed 79SQN. At the precise moment the SQN ceased to exist in Butterworth it reformed at Williamtown on the Hornet.

  • Cecil Badrick,
  • Robert Jago,
  • Norm Cox,
  • Garry Hansberry,
  • Neil Rothery,
  • Eddy Jacobs,
  • ,Allan McDonald
  • Mal Holliday,
  • Ray Appelby,
  • Toby Tobler,
  • Warren Gowland,
  • Peter Dor,
  • Terry Smith,
  • John Atwell,
  • Kevin Evans,
  • Paul Daniher,
  • Ron Daunt,
  • Beau Waters,
  • Peter Thompson,
  • Clarence Hangan,
  • Robert Cowell,
  • Colin Greenwood,
  • Mal Cunningham,
  • R.G. Morrison,
  • Peter Anderson,
  • Don Murray,
  • George Kerrigan,
  • Noel Klein,
  • Owen Jago,
  • Graham Wiseman,
  • Al Taggart,
  • Scott Mogg,
  • Ron Greer,
  • Glen Tyack,
  • Alan Howe,
  • Nick Lukan,
  • Marion Zarzecki,
  • Gary Pritchard.
  • Ron Moore,
  • Col Evans,
  • Robert Thomas,
  • M. Wilson,
  • Lindsay Tucker,
  • Peter Hammond,
  • Danny McGrath,
  • Ian Buck,
  • Jeff Sutton,
  • Kevin White,
  • Shane Linwood,
  • Bob Bold,
  • Frank Doyle,
  • Frank Horne,
  • Mick Sharman,
  • Dale Martin,
  • Garry McKie,
  • Bob Griffin,
  • Pete Martyn,
3SQN & 75SQN Pilots assemble in all their flying gear in front of Mirage A3-100. ~ Photo 3SQN

Butterworth 1969, 3SQN pilot wearing HGU-2A/P Helmet. ~ 3SQN Photo

1980, only change to the gear is the Helmet, which is a GENTEX HGU-26/P. The Mask is a MEL Aviation “P”. Ejection seat is a Martin Baker OM4 and shows the green horseshoe pack for the Parachute. The yellow tag is for the chaff pack stowed inside the pack. ~ Photo Alain Crosnier

3SQN pilot performing egress practice through a broken canopy. ~ 3SQN Photo

3SQN Safety Equipment Section, Circa 1985 ~ Photo Greg Meggs

tail-1 tail-2
1969 - No SQN colours, just a few ‘zaps’ & 1970 - New colours for 3SQN, Jaffa orange & black tail flash with frillneck lizard entwined with a 3 ~ 3SQN Photos

tail-3 tail-4
1973 - The lizard is gone and the official ‘flying bomb’ is in its place & 1978 - The jaffa orange flash is gone, replaced by a lighter orange but the Southern Cross is back ~ 3SQN Photos

tail-5 tail-6
1982 - Low vis grey & 1985 - More low vis grey. ~ 3SQN Photos

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