Home' Air Force News : February 3rd 2011 Contents 11
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AIR FORCE assets were to the
fore in two maritime search and
rescue operations late last year.
Two 92WG AP-3Cs and a
36SQN C-17A flew in support
of the tragedy at Christmas
The drama started early on
December 15 when Customs
and Border Protection offic-
ers saw a wooden suspected
irregular entry vessel (SIEV)
perilously close to the rocks
near the harbour.
Weather conditions were
severe, with waves at 3 to 4m.
The SIEV broke up, throw-
ing many of the people aboard
into the sea. At least 30 died.
HMAS Pirie and Australian
Customs Vessel ACV Triton
rescued 44 people.
Conditions were so bad
that the search for survivors
was called off overnight, but
resumed at first light.
The two Orions were
tasked to join the search on
Australian Federal Police
asked for a Disaster Victim
Identification trailer to be
flown out from Darwin, which
a C-17A did on December 18.
Earlier in the month, a
C-130H played an impor-
tant role in the rescue of
five Solomon Islanders after
the Australian Maritime
Safety Authority's Rescue
Coordination Centre (RCC)
was asked to assist the search
for the five reported missing in
a small boat.
The RCC requested Air
Force assistance and the air-
craft took off on the morning
of December 6. It was fitted
with a special search and res-
After arrival, it commenced
a search and the crew sighted
the five and their boat shelter-
ing on an island.
They notified authorities
and a helicopter successfully
extricated the group later on.
Acting Chief Joint
Operations Command RADM
Ray Griggs said the Hercules
had deployed at extremely
short notice on the mission.
"The C-130 crew can
be very proud of their role
in ensuring these five peo-
ple were safely recovered,"
RADM Griggs said.
Air Force plays key
role in two rescue
attempts at sea
FLTLT Skye Smith
F/A-18F Super Hornets have reached ini-
tial operational capability (IOC) on time
and on budget with the arrival of four
A ceremony was held on December
8 to mark the significant achievement in
the evolution of air combat capability.
"This is another major milestone for
this very successful acquisition project,"
Air Commander Australia AVM Mark
"IOC has involved establishing a
squadron of 12 aircraft with supporting
training and maintenance systems."
OC 82WG GPCAPT Steve Roberton
said the entire Super Hornet team was to
be congratulated for its tireless efforts
throughout the transition project to
achieve the milestone.
"It has been a challenging and
rewarding experience for all involved in
the transition," GPCAPT Roberton said.
Throughout 2010, the Super Hornets
were put through rigorous operational
testing and evaluation to achieve IOC,
including the first live AGM-154 C Joint
Standoff Weapon release during 1SQN's
first domestic deployment in September.
The latest arrival of jets brings the
Australian fleet to 15, with the first five
welcomed to Australia on March 26 last
year and another six on July 6.
The latest jets included Australia's
first three Super Hornets to be pre-wired
for EA-18G Growler electronic attack
capability, and also marked the first
Super Hornets for 6SQN following the
retirement of the F-111 on December 3.
"The potential conversion of the
F/A-18F aircraft to provide an EA-18G
Growler electronic warfare capability
is being considered for implementation
as an engineering change proposal with
no impact to the current production and
delivery schedule," GPCAPT Roberton
This was also the first US Navy-led
ferry of aircraft with support by Boeing.
The aircraft departed from the
Boeing facility in St. Louis USA, and
over a number of days transited via
Travis Air Force Base in California,
Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and
Guam, before arriving at their new home
at RAAF Base Amberley.
Aircraft A44-201 was part of the lat-
est complement of jets, and was the first
Super Hornet to be delivered by Boeing.
It has undergone advanced software
development trials with the US Navy
during the last 12 months and is per-
forming above expectations.
"The latest arrival of Super Hornets
marks an important transition for Air
Force, particularly with the recent F-111
decommission following four decades of
service," GPCAPT Roberton said.
The Super Hornet is a highly capa-
ble, battle proven, multi-role aircraft that
has already proved its effectiveness in
service with the US Navy. Its flexibil-
ity will enhance Australia's air combat
capability, through maritime and land
strike, suppression of enemy air defence,
reconnaissance, air-to-air combat and
close air support.
The remaining nine aircraft in the
fleet of 24 will be progressively intro-
duced throughout the year as the Super
Hornet team work towards achieving
final operational capability.
The four new
to land at
with two new
aircraft at the
TOUCHDOWN: Two of the new jets taxi to the flightline
and the IOC ceremony.
Photo: LACW Jessica Smith
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