Home' Air Force News : August 19th 2010 Contents 3
August 19, 2010
SGT Andrew Hetherington
AIR FORCE'S Heron Remotely Pi-
loted Aircraft (RPA) detachment based
in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is provid-
ing essential support to our Mentoring
Task Force and Special Operations Task
Group as we build Afghanistan's capac-
ity to protect itself.
In essence, the Heron Detachment
contributes to the protection of
Australian and coalition ground troops,
as well as the Afghan population.
The detachment comprises more
than 25 personnel who arrived in
Afghanistan in late April.
Heron Detachment Commander
WGCDR Tim Creevey said the unit has
a wide range of specialisations working
"Our role here is to provide per-
sistent, timely intelligence, surveil-
lance and reconnaissance support to
Australian and coalition forces operat-
ing in Regional Command (South),"
WGCDR Creevey said.
"Everyone at the Heron Detachment
is also proud to be here, to be helping
the Australian guys on the ground and
they are keen to fly the aircraft to sup-
The detachment operates Heron air-
craft leased from MacDonald, Dettwiler
and Associates of Vancouver, Canada,
to meet the urgent and growing demand
for RPA support to operations until a
long-term RPA solution is in place.
Classified as a tier four, medium
altitude, long endurance RPA, the
Heron can stay airborne for more than
24 hours at a time above 20,000 feet.
It provides the 1st Mentoring Task
Force (MTF-1) and Special Operations
Task Group (SOTG) commanders on
the ground primarily with electro-optic
and infrared, full motion video capabili-
"We fly two different missions.
One is direct support to troops on the
ground, where we interact directly with
them making them aware of any threats
near them or on their travel route,"
WGCDR Creevey said.
"The second is intelligence collec-
tion, where we fly out to do reconnais-
sance on areas where the ground forces
will operate in the future."
Pilot FLTLT Steve Edwards, who
flew a Falcon 900 VIP jet before taking
on this job, took up the challenge to fly
the Heron late last year.
Even though it's not a hard aircraft
to fly, FLTLT Edwards said the job does
have its challenges.
"Being a Heron Air Vehicle
Operator, we are also the mission com-
mander, stepping into a new role with a
new group of people," he said.
The role he has is rewarding on
many levels. "Especially when every-
thing works out during a mission, such
as when we get tasked to observe an
area of interest on the ground, where
we assist ground forces to navigate to or
around that area.
"We believe we play a pivotal role in
the mission. It's the sense we are keep-
ing the guys on the ground safe," FLTLT
WGCDR Creevey said he is
extremely happy with the detachment's
performance so far.
"I am very proud of what everyone
has achieved; they've been very profes-
sional to get the job done," he said.
Rotation Two personnel will begin to
return to Australia later this month.
Herons on a mission
HELP: A Heron
to land at
ON THE JOB: Above, Heron
Detachment Commander WGCDR
Tim Creevey, and above right,
Heron Air Vehicle Operator FLTLT
Steve Edwards at his post.
Since late April to late July 2010, the
Heron detachment has flown more than
900 hours or approximately 100 missions.
The aircraft were able to launch 95
percent of the time they were required to
and the mission success rate was 95 per
Top flight results
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