Home' Air Force News : November 24th 2011 Contents 4
November 24, 2011
SGT Matthew Hunt
(pictured right) has
recently returned from the
Heron detachment in the
MEAO -- so his endorsement
of 5 Flight's (5FLT) work
carries some weight.
"There is nothing more
rewarding than deploying to
the Middle East and using
your knowledge and skills to
provide support to the troops
on the ground," SGT Hunt, of 87SQN,
SGT Hunt attributes the team suc-
cess of his rotation to his force prepara-
"At the completion of the 5FLT
training I was more prepared to deploy
to the Middle East than I had ever been
before. I came home knowing that I had
made a difference."
The Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
capability has come a long way since
the Heron was introduced into coalition
operations in January 2010.
The RPA is now a key component
in the ADF's intelligence, surveillance,
reconnaissance and electronic warfare
operations in Afghanistan.
5FLT performs the administrative,
logistical and operational aspects of
force preparation for all ADF members
deploying on Heron rotations.
Temporary CO WGCDR Jonathan
McMullan says it has been a huge task
for those involved to get this capability
up and running from scratch.
At the time of formation in early 2010,
5FLT began with only a handful of per-
sonnel. Over the past two years supporting
operations the small unit is now moving to
an establishment of 22.
"While we will only be filling about
75 per cent of our establishment in
2012, the operational focus and effec-
tiveness of deploying personnel has
increased for each rotation, which is
testament to the high level of training
delivered by the 5FLT team," WGCDR
"Now that we are well into force
preparation training for Rotation 8,
5FLT has been able to review all aspects
of the training package to ensure that
we are developing Heron members
effectively, efficiently and ultimately
more mission focused."
The rotation is about five months for
operators and support personnel with a
staggered forward deployment to pro-
vide for an effective transition.
Preparing to deploy with Rotation 8
is SQNLDR Jonathan Polich, of 6SQN.
"The deployment will give members
an insight into working within a coali-
tion operation, seeing how other nations
employ their assets and skill sets, as
well as seeing how we contribute to
the overall bigger picture," SQNLDR
SPECIAL mailing addresses
have been established to allow
members of the public to send
Christmas goodwill care pack-
ages to Australian troops on
Items weighing up to 2kg
and posted in a 'BM' size
Australia Post carton can be
posted without cost to the
Parcels exceeding this limit
will incur full postal charges,
which must be paid by the
The postal addresses are
active until December 9 and
packages will be distributed
throughout the operational
For postal security rea-
sons, parcels must be posted
in person with presentation of
photograph identification and
can be lodged at any Australia
Care package items most
appreciated include uniquely
Australian treats such as lol-
lies, magazines, books and
DVDs. Alcohol and tobacco
products should not be sent.
All the details necessary
for sending care packages,
including the addresses for
each operational area, can be
found at http://www.defence.
IN TIME FOR
5FLT is now able to
simulate realistic scenarios
with an integrated Ground
Mission Station (GMS) and
Ground Control Station (GCS)
that allows a more holistic
approach to training. This has
allowed the unit to train both
aircrew and the intelligence
team collectively in theatre-like
"This training continuum
development has ensured that
members deploying are as
operationally focused and ready as is pos-
sible," WGCDR McMullan says.
"They also have a solid understand-
ing of the crew resource management
aspects of Heron operations following
their core training, as well as a good
insight as to what to expect on the
ground in Kandahar."
'Aerial vehicle operators and payload
operators undergo three months of spe-
cific force preparation training, while
support personnel undertake about four
weeks of training in addition to stand-
ard deployment training.
While the operators bring their own
specialist skills to the new platform,
they must first learn theoretical and
practical aspects to safely and effec-
tively control the RPA.
Classroom training includes GCS
and simulator training, full-motion
video, electronic warfare and opera-
tional theory course.
The next phase is to test these skills at
Woomera through GCS practical training
and completing the operational flying
phase, which involves both the GCS and
"Woomera is the ideal location
from a full motion video perspective,"
WGCDR McMullan says.
The pre-deployment to Woomera also
provides the rotation with an opportunity
to bond, work together and develop a one-
team approach that is crucial for success-
ful operations in the Middle East.
For more information on 5FLT and
deployment opportunities, visit: http://
Air Combat Group's 5 Flight is making giant advances in
force preparation, reports FLTLT Skye Smith.
This training contin-
has ensured that
are as operationally
focused and ready
as is possible.
-- WGCDR Jonathan
NEW BOSS: Incoming GPCAPT
Warren McDonald signs the
change of command certificate
with outgoing commander
JTF633.2 GPCAPT Paul
Nicholas; top, JTF633.2
members stand on parade.
Photos: PO Damian Pawlenko
NEW Air Component Com-
mander Joint Task Force
633.2 GPCAPT Warren
McDonald has assumed
command from GPCAPT
Paul Nicholas at the Austral-
ian Air Component at Al
Minhad Air Base after a
change of command cer-
emony on November 4. The
Air Component provides
coordination and tasking
support to HQ JTF633 for
all aircraft and air combat
support elements assigned
to Operation Slipper.
NEW BOSS: Incoming GPCAPT
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