Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Oct 2013 Contents 10 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2013
MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN
The Department of Defence announced on September
16 that Rotary Wing Group - Eight (RWG-8), the
Australian Army Aviation Detachment, has completed
its mission in Afghanistan.
RWG-8 marked the End of Mission during a
ceremony at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) on Saturday (14
The KAF-based RWG consisted of two CH-47D
Chinook Medium Lift Helicopters operating throughout
the Afghan summer months as part of the American-
led Regional Command South Aviation Task Force.
Australian Army Aviation Task Groups have
completed 11 tours in Afghanistan starting in 2006 as
the Aviation Support Element. It was renamed Rotary
Wing Group in 2008 and went on to complete eight
rotations between 2008 and 2013.
Lieutenant Colonel James Brown, Commanding
Officer RWG-8, said the RWG’s contribution was
“The men and women of RWG-8 achieved 780
flying hours over 90 missions from 2 April to 4
September 2013,” Lieutenant Colonel Brown said.
“We carried more than 3400 passengers and
approximately 373,000kg of cargo to dozens of
Forward Operating Bases in Southern Afghanistan.
“Australian RWG detachments have made a
significant contribution to the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) every year since 2006.
“It has been a privilege to support NATO and Afghan
troops on the ground as they work to get Afghanistan
on the path to stability.”
Australia’s Middle East Area of Operations
Commander, Major General Michael Crane said the
RWG operated steadfastly alongside their American
“The Army Aviation’s detachment, assigned under
Operational Control to American Combat Aviation
Brigades over the past eight years has provided a
meaningful enhancement to Australia’s strategic US
alliance,” Major General Crane said
Over the 11 rotations of Army Combat Aviation
(three by Aviation Support Element and eight by Rotary
Wing Group) Army Chinook helicopters flew in excess
of 6000 combat flying hours, carried almost 40,000
personnel and transported in excess of 3600 tonnes
of military cargo.
Numerous decorations have been awarded to
Australian aircrew over the various deployments
including the Medal for Gallantry, Distinguished Service
Medal, the Meritorious Unit Citation for the 5th Aviation
Regiment, several US Bronze Stars and multiple US Air
RWG personnel were drawn from across the Army
Aviation community, though the majority deployed
from the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville, home of
Army’s Chinook capability.
The aircraft will return home to Australia by Royal
Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster Aircraft in the
The Chinook, a tandem rotor cargo helicopter with
a maximum all-up weight of 22727kg provides
significant lift capability in high density-altitude
conditions, making it well suited to operations in
Afghanistan’s harsh environment. Soon to be upgraded
to a newer model, the Chinook will continue to provide
the Army with a critical capability. ¢
NAVANTIA SETS AFLOAT
At 12:00 on 16 September, Navantia set afloat the
first of twelve fast landing crafts, purpose built for the
Royal Australian Navy. The crafts’ design is based on
a similar vessel commissioned by the Spanish Navy
from Navantia between 2006 and 2008.
The Australian contract, signed in December 2011,
includes the construction of 12 units. The first four
units are to be delivered in April 2014 to Australia,
where they will be finalised with additional equipment.
The landing crafts are to operate with RAN
vessels ALHD Canberra and ALHD Adelaide strategic
projection ships, similar to the Navantia built LHD
Juan Carlos I.
Fast landing craft main characteristics:
• Overall length: 23.30 m.
• Flotation length: 21.27 m.
• Width: 6.40 m.
• Depth: 2.80 m.
• Propulsion: two 809 kW diesel engines,
two water jet propellers
• Speed: >20 knots
• Autonomy: 190 miles at full load
• Loading capacity flexibility: Abrams vehicle,
several Army vehicles, fusiliers’ company
or 20 feet container truck.
Australia is a strategic country for Navantia’s
operations, with Navantia presenting a solid and safe
option for a number of naval programs. In recognition
of this commitment, Navantia recently formed an
Australia subsidiary, Navantia Australia Pty. Ltd. ¢
A CH-47D "Chinook" Load Master provides rear protection to the
accompanying CH-47 from the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Credit: CoA / Neil Ruskin
Navantia landing craft
19/09/13 9:50 AM
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