Australian Army Chinooks complete Afghanistan operations
The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced that Rotary Wing Group – Eight (RWG-8), the Australian Army Aviation Detachment, has officially completed its mission in Afghanistan. A ceremony at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) on 14 September marked the End of Mission occasion.
RWG-8, based at KAF, operated two CH-47D Chinook Medium Lift Helicopters from 2 April to 4 September as part of the American-led Regional Command South Aviation Task Force. During this time RWG-8 achieved 780 flying hours over 90 missions. It carried more than 3400 passengers and approximately 373,000kg of cargo to dozens of Forward Operating Bases in Southern Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. James Brown, Commanding Officer RWG-8, said: ‘Australian RWG detachments have made a significant contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) every year since 2006. It has been a privilege to support NATO and Afghan troops on the ground as they work to get Afghanistan on the path to stability.’
Maj. Gen. Michael Crane, Australia’s Middle East Area of Operations Commander, added that the RWG operated steadfastly alongside their American allies.
‘The Army Aviation’s detachment, assigned under Operational Control to American Combat Aviation Brigades over the past eight years has provided a meaningful enhancement to Australia’s strategic US alliance,’ he said.
Australian Army Aviation Task Groups have completed 11 tours in Afghanistan starting in 2006 as the Aviation Support Element. It was renamed Rotary Wing Group in 2008 and went on to complete eight rotations between 2008 and 2013.
Over the 11 rotations of Army Combat Aviation (three by Aviation Support Element and eight by Rotary Wing Group) Army Chinook helicopters flew in excess of 6000 combat flying hours, carried almost 40,000 personnel and transported in excess of 3600 tonnes of military cargo.
The aircraft will return home to Australia by Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster Aircraft in the coming month.
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