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AUSTRALIA'S air transport work-horses in
the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO),
the C-130s, have been successfully transferred
to a new, combined ADF facility.
The final sortie of a C-130 from its former
Middle East home base was marked by a tra-
ditional dunking by RAAF and coalition fire
Australian forces are located in a number of
facilities throughout the Middle East. The C-130
fleet is to be consolidated with the AP-3Cs and
the Australian National Headquarters.
Work at the new base was inspected recently
by CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin during his
Remembrance Day visit.
Leading CAF's tour was GPCAPT Geoff
Robinson who said that CAF was pleased by
what he saw.
"I think the Chief was impressed at how much
construction has gone on in such a short space of
time," GPCAPT Robinson said.
The facilities being constructed, which
include messing, accommodation and working
facilities, will allow the ADF to support activities
across the MEAO.
C-130 Detachment Commander SQNLDR
Peter Cseh said his unit's mission focus had
shifted to support operations in Afghanistan,
necessitating a review of operations.
"The review determined significant efficiency
gains in logistic support as well as reducing
fatigue on our personnel and equipment," he
said.The plan to move the C-130 fleet rapidly
came together in recent months and was acceler-
ated, with the success in supporting the ISAF
(International Security Assistance Force) during
the 2009 Afghanistan elections.
C-130s change bases
BARROW TO PUSH: From left, MAJ
John Venz, CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin,
GPCAPT Geoff Robinson and SQNLDR
Gilbert Gonthier check out the site for the
Australian hangar facility.
NEW HOME: Above, the Commander of
Joint Task Force 633, MAJGEN Mark Kelly
(second from right), presents an Australian
flag to SQNLDR Clarke McNamara after
their flight into a new location as part of the
WET WELCOME: Left, the last C-130J
to complete re-basing arrives in the
new operating location with a traditional
welcome, courtesy of the base firefighters.
Photos: SGT Rob Nyffenegger
The C-130 detachment is drawn from person-
nel from 37SQN and has deployed to the Middle
East since 2003. In that time, it has made a sub-
stantial contribution to ADF and coalition opera-
tions and to ISAF in Afghanistan.
The C-130 mission has flown both H and J
models over the past six years. Both types have
contributed nearly 11,000 sorties, 63 million
pounds of cargo, 130,000 passengers and assisted
wounded personnel during 2300 AME sorties.
UNDER Project NANKEEN, the
first Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
(UAV) to be leased by Australia for
use on ADF operations will begin test
flights this month.
Once tests are completed, the
UAV (serial number A45-262) will be
delivered to Kandahar in Afghanistan
for operation by Air Force personnel
in close collaboration with Canadian
The ADF signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with the Canadian forc-
es, which already operate Heron UAVs
in Afghanistan. Our Air Force and Army
personnel are currently embedded in the
Canadian UAV Detachment in Kandahar
and are conducting combat operations in
support of deployed Australian troops.
Once all the UAV systems have been
acquired through Project NANKEEN,
the ADF will establish its full Heron
attachment of Air Force and Army per-
sonnel in Afghanistan.
The Heron is a one-tonne UAV capa-
ble of medium altitude, long endurance
flights. It can conduct operations in
excess of 24 hours, with a maximum
speed of more than 100 knots (180km/h)
and at altitudes of up to 10,000 metres.
It can carry a combination of sensors
which communicate with the ground
control station in real time.
First UAVs to be used on
ops ready to roll in Israel
LEADING EDGE: The Heron UAV in the factory in Israel, ready to begin flight
Photos: courtesy WGCDR David Riddel, Deputy Director -- Air Combat Capability
WIDE LOAD: This
angle shows the
long wingspan of
the Heron, which
is 16.6 metres
wide. It measures
8.5 metres in
AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
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