Home' Air Force News : September 1st 2011 Contents 3
September 1, 2011
THE milestones just keep on coming
for the Air Force's AP-3C Orions.
In July, the Orions commem-
orated the fifth anniversary of
Operation Resolute, the ADF's
contribution to the whole-of-gov-
ernment effort to protect Australia's
borders and offshore maritime
Now the aircraft's Middle East
detachment has marked 20,000
hours of operational missions.
The achievement was recorded
on August 15 as one of the two
deployed Orion aircraft flew an
overland mission in search of insur-
gents in southern Afghanistan.
Twenty thousand hours equates
to 833 days of 24-hour operations
or 2¼ years of continuous flying.
When the Orion arrived back
at Al Minhad Air Base after the
milestone mission, Australian and
British firefighting trucks provided
a traditional water canon welcome.
SQNLDR Darren Lines said he was
proud to have played a small part.
"This is a remarkable achieve-
ment that is testament to the pro-
fessionalism, dedication, and mis-
sion focus of the team," he said.
About 2800 personnel have
deployed to the Middle East in
support of AP-3C operations since
The Air Component
Commander, GPCAPT Paul
Nicholas, also praised the hard
work done by 92WG detachments.
"The combined efforts of the
AP-3Cs and the wider RAAF team
have enabled the Air Component to
support coalition land operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan and maritime
operations in the Arabian Sea and
surrounding maritime areas of the
Middle East," GPCAPT Nicholas
said.For the past eight years,
the Orion crews have con-
ducted overland Intelligence
Surveillance & Reconnaissance
(ISR) tasks in Afghanistan and
Iraq, maritime patrols of the
Persian Gulf and North Arabian
Sea and more recently, coun-
ter-piracy missions in the vicin-
ity of Somalia, working close-
ly with the US-led Combined
Maritime Force and other inter-
national task forces.
Commander Surveillance and
Response Group AIRCDRE Jim
Brown said the AP-3C Orion has
an extremely versatile aircraft.
During Middle East operations, it
can transmit real-time surveillance
pictures, providing essential situ-
ational awareness to commanders
on the ground.
It is also capable of performing
a multitude of roles including anti-
submarine warfare, anti-surface
warfare, maritime surveillance,
Naval fleet support and search and
"Upgraded sensors have
increased 92WG's ability to
include overland ISR and today
about 70 per cent of sorties in the
Middle East are conducted over-
land," AIRCDRE Brown said.
"Many of our AP-3C Orion
people have done multiple deploy-
ments to the Middle East. I under-
stand the impact this commitment
has on personal lives and I believe
it is important to recognise and to
thank their families for the support
The Orions are deployed from
RAAF Base Edinburgh. The
detachment in Al Minhad Air Base
in the United Arab Emirates is
made up of not only aircrew and
maintenance personnel, but intelli-
gence, imagery analysts, operations
officers, logistics and many other
combat support personnel.
TO MARK the occasion of reaching
20,000 flying hours, the detachment
unveiled nose art on the aircraft which
clocked the magic number.
Designed by committee, the artwork
was painted on the pilot's side of the air-
craft (which is tradition) by detachment
member LAC Derek Lamb.
Detachment Commander SQNLDR
Darren Lines said LAC Lamb had the
task of applying the concept diagram to
the aircraft and did "an amazing job with
"Derek is a 92WG aircraft structural
fitter who happens to be extremely tal-
ented with paint. We were very fortunate
that he was here, otherwise the nose art
would be stick men in the medium of
grease pencil," SQNLDR Lines said.
The nose art depicts the 92WG Sealion
gripping a globe displaying the Middle East
Area of Operations symbolising the quiet
achievers in the MEAO. There are also four
banners displaying the names of the opera-
tions that have been supported: Operations
Bastille, Falconer, Catalyst and Slipper.
There are four ribbons displayed symbolic
of the support provided to Australian and
coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the
up in Middle
Another day, another achievement for our Orions
PROUD NEW ADDITION: Above, the new nose art on the
Orion and, right, GPCAPT Paul Nicholas, artist LAC Derek
Lamb and SQNLDR Darren Lines.
Passing with flying colours
PROUD NEW ADDITION Ab
THAT'S A BLAST: Australian and
British fire trucks provide a traditional
water canon welcome home at Al
Minhad Air Base. AP-3cs have now
clocked up 20,000 hours in the MEAO.
Photo: LTCOL Michael Harris
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