Australia — Chinook helicopters return to operations in Afghanistan

The Aus­tralian Defence Force’s CH-47 “Chi­nook” heli­copters returned to duty in South­ern Afghanistan, pro­vid­ing medi­um lift trans­port capa­bil­i­ty to Aus­tralian and Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) units.

The heli­copters will be oper­at­ed by the men and women of Rotary Wing Group 7 (RWG 7) who recent­ly com­menced their deploy­ment to Afghanistan in sup­port of Oper­a­tion SLIPPER.

Com­man­der of Australia’s Joint Task Force 633 in the Mid­dle East, Major Gen­er­al Stu­art Smith said the heli­copters were a major addi­tion to ISAF rotary wing capa­bil­i­ty in south­ern Afghanistan.

“The troops of Rotary Wing Group 7 are expe­ri­enced and their CH-47s are his­tor­i­cal­ly impor­tant heli­copters for sup­port­ing coali­tion forces – mov­ing thou­sands of pas­sen­gers and hun­dreds of thou­sands of tonnes of freight dur­ing their annu­al rota­tion,” Major Gen­er­al Smith said.

Embed­ded with the Unit­ed States 25th Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade, known as Task Force Wings, RWG 7 will pro­vide medi­um lift heli­copter sup­port to ISAF mis­sions through­out Uruz­gan, Daykun­di, Kan­da­har and Zab­ul Provinces.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of RWG 7, Lieu­tenant Colonel Scott Nicholls said the team was excit­ed to be back on oper­a­tions in sup­port of Aus­tralian and ISAF troops.

“Rotary Wing Group 7 had an exten­sive prepa­ra­tion before deploy­ing to Afghanistan, not only fly­ing but also con­duct­ing sim­u­la­tion activ­i­ties,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Nicholls said.

“Since being in Afghanistan, we’ve actu­al­ly con­duct­ed sig­nif­i­cant train­ing, local area famil­iari­sa­tion by day and night and inte­grat­ing with our US Task Force,” he added.

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, the two CH-47D heli­copters are dis­man­tled and trans­port­ed back to Aus­tralian for deep lev­el main­te­nance over the Afghan win­ter peri­od. This past win­ter, the heli­copters remained in Kan­da­har for sched­uled deep lev­el main­te­nance.

This result­ed in sav­ings by not break­ing the air­craft down for trans­port to Aus­tralia and as well as sav­ing fuel and fly­ing hours for Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force C-17 air­craft.

The in-the­atre main­te­nance was super­vised by an expe­ri­enced team of Army tech­ni­cal per­son­nel to ensure it met strin­gent Aus­tralian tech­ni­cal air­wor­thi­ness require­ments.

RWG 7 is made up of approx­i­mate­ly 60 per­son­nel pri­mar­i­ly from the Townsville-based 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment and from across the ADF.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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