The Pilbara Regiment and is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units employed in surveillance and reconnaissance of the remote areas of northern Australia.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s the need for a military presence in the north was recognised, with an integrated land, sea and air surveillance network developed in response. Part of this involved the raising of reserve infantry units that would act as "eyes and ears" in the north.
The Pilbara Regiment was raised for operations in the Pilbara region of north-west Australia, whilst others were raised in the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland. The regiment was originally formed as a company on 26 January 1982, from the 5th Independent Rifle Company, under Major David Hudson. It was subsequently redesignated as a full regiment in 1985.
Today the regiment’s mission 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)." It is responsible 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; being approximately one-sixth of the total Australia mass.
A detailed knowledge of its Area of Operations is maintained by conducting reconnaissance patrols by foot, vehicle and watercraft; surveillance from static observation posts; and by systematic communication and liaison with police, customs, other regional authorities, and with local landowners.
On 1 March 2010, Pilbara Regiment became part of the re-raised 6th Brigade and, on 1 September 2014, came under the command of 2nd Division.
The motto of the Pilbara Regiment is ‘Mintu wanta’, which is a Western Desert Aboriginal dialect for ‘Always alert’. It is the first motto of an aboriginal language to be incorporated in a regimental crest in the Australian Defence Force.