Australian Army Aviation (AAAvn) is a corps of the Australian Army, and was formed on 1 July 1968. It has a history dating back to 1911, when the Minister of Defence at the time, Senator George Pearce, decided there should be a flying school in the Defence Department. The motto of the Australian Army Aviation corps is Vigilance.
The Aviation Corps utilises soldiers from various other Army corps. The Royal Australian Corps of Transport trains and provides air dispatchers, while the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers trains aircraft structural fitters, who maintain aircraft life support equipment, and avionics technicians. Members of the Aviation Corps are entitled to wear a sky blue beret. The Corps has several bases, but its home is the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey, Queensland.
The cap badge of the Australian Army Aviation corps
Army Aviation units across the world are descended from the Cavalry, and they fulfill similar roles, such as light reconnaissance. Therefore, unit designations in Aviation are similar to those used in the Cavalry.
- 16 (Aviation) Brigade
- 1st Aviation Regiment (attack helicopter regiment, 3 Tiger ARH SQN)
- 2nd Aviation Regiment (medium transport helicopter regiment, 1 CH-47D SQN, 3 S-70A-9 SQN)
- 4th Aviation Regiment (training regiment)
- Australian Defence Force Helicopter School (AS.350B)
- School of Army Aviation (CA-32, Turbo Porter, UH-1H)
- 5th Aviation Regiment (assault transport helicopter regiment, 1 S-70A-9 SQN, 2 S-70A-44 SQN)
- 6th Aviation Regiment (light aircraft regiment, 1 Beech King Air SQN, 1 Nomad SQN, 3 Turbo Porter SQN)
- 7th Aviation Regiment (transport helicopter regiment, 3 UH-1H SQN)
- 8th Aviation Regiment (reconnaissance helicopter regiment, 3 CA-32 SQN)
Australian Army Tiger, Black Hawk, and Chinook in line astern
Eurocopter Tiger ARHEdit
The Eurocopter Tiger ARH was introduced in 2003 to replace the UH-1H Iroquous Bushranger and supplement the Commonwealth CAC-32 Kiowa, and provide an additional close support capability to the Army. The Army operates 36 Tigers in a single regiment. The Tiger's marinised design is particularly well suited to amphibious and intervention operations. It is probably the most advanced helicopter in the South Pacific, and is produced by Australian Aerospace in Brisbane, QLD.
Boeing CH-47 ChinookEdit
The Army operates 12 CH-47 Chinooks. They were supplied to the Army when the Chinook returned to the ADF inventory in 1993. Half of the Army's Chinooks are CH-47D models, while the other six are CH-47F Chinooks. The main role of the CH-47 is logistic and battlefield support. They can also be ustilised in the troop-lift role with 44 troops, or the medevac role with 22 stretchers plus two attendants.
Hawker De Havilland Australia/Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black HawkEdit
The Hawker De Havilland Australia/Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk is the workhorse of Australian Army aviation. Its tasks include tactical transport of infantry soldiers, search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster relief and external carriage of heavy equipment including artillery howitzers and light vehicles. The Army's Black Hawks were manufactured in Australia, under licence from Sikorsky, by Hawker De Havilland. The Australian Army originally ordered 72 S-70A-9 Blackhawks, and now operates 48. As with several Army Aviation, the Black Hawk is being replaced by a newer version of itself, the MH-60S Knighthawk (see below). The Sikorsky S-70 series is the ADF's standard medium helicopter, also serving with the Navy (in three versons, S-70B-2, S-70B-9, S-70A-44), and the Air Force (MH-60K special operations Black Hawk)
Outside official documents, the Black Hawk tends to go by its American designation of UH-60.
Hawker De Havilland Australia/Sikorsky S-70A-44 Black HawkEdit
The AIR9000 project sought to replace the Army's Black Hawks and the Navy's Sea Kings with a single type. The type chosen as the replacement for the S-70A-9 Black Hawk, and the Sea King Mk. 50 is the HdH/Sikorsky S-70A-44 Black Hawk. The S-70A-44 is the Australian-made version of the MH-60S Knighthawk, in service with the US Navy. The Army adopted a Naval helicopter for the medium lift, battlefield support, and assault roles because it would be able to operate easily from assault ships. In addition, operations of S-70A-9 Black Hawks from HMAS Kanimbla and Manoora gave rise to corrosion concerns due to the salt-laden air in the maritime environment.
Over 90 aircraft have been ordered for the Army and Navy. Outside official documents, the Black Hawk tends to go by its American designation of MH-60S.
Bell UH-1H IroquoisEdit
Although the Bell UH-1 has been in Australian service for 47 years, the Army has only used the UH-1H for 21 years, since the transfer of battlefield helicopters from the Air Force to the Army. The Army uses the UH-1 for light transport, training, search and rescue, medevac, and fire support. The UH-1 has proven particularly useful as it is cheap and simple to operate and maintain, and can be deployed by a C-130. They are frequently used in minor conflicts and peacekeeping operations. A detachment operate in Bougainville in support of ADF operations there. UH-1s operate elsewhere in PNG as the ADF's primary logistics support asset in PNG. To save flight hours on Blackhawks, they are used to train regular and (more frequently) reserve troops in air assault tactics.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-32 Kiowa (Bell 206B)Edit
The CA-32 Kiowa is the Australian-made version of the Bell 206B Kiowa. Leased Bell OH-58A Kiowas entered service in 1968 in South Vietnam, and the first CA-32 Kiowas entered service in 1972. The Kiowa is used in the observation and training roles by the Australian Army. The Kiowa works closely with armoured and cavalry units. Kiowas are also used for artillery observation. Their observation capabilities are frequently used in exercises to ensure the safety of troops. 50 Kiowas are currently is use with the 8th Aviation Regiment, and the School of Army Aviation. The RAN is a former user of the CA-32 Kiowa. The Army is seeking a replacement for the CA-32 Kiowa.
Gippsland Aeronautics NomadEdit
A new version of the Government Aircraft Factory Nomad, the Gippsland Aeronautics Nomad first flew in 2005. The Nomad previously served with Australian Army aviation, 22 being operated between 1975 and 1993. The GAF Nomads were withdrawn after a series of crashes caused partially by poor construction. The Army has ordered 24 Gippsland Nomads. Deliveries began in mid-2009.
Beechcraft King Air 350Edit
12 Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft were leased in 1996 to replace the GAF Nomad, which was withdrawn due to a series of crashes. They serve in in Command and Control, Surveillance, and Transport roles with the 6th Aviation Regiment. They are being replaced with Gippsland Nomads.
Pilatus PC-6 Turbo PorterEdit
The Pilatus Turbo Porter entered service in 1968. It is used for reconnaissance, liaison, training, and light transport. It can also be used for forward air control, and can even conduct limited ground attack missions. The Army uses 46 with three operational squadrons in the 6th Aviation Regiment, and the School of Army Aviation. Most are based at the Army Aviation Centre at Oakey, Queensland.
Due to their age, the Australian Army decided to replace its 41 year old Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porters, however due to their unique performance, the only aircraft which met the requirement for a replacement ... was the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The Army will acquire 56 new-build PC-6 Turbo Porters to replace the current operational and training force. New build PC-6 Turbo Porters, with modern avionics are being delivered to the Army Aviation Corps.
Aerospatiale AS.350B SquirrelEdit
The Aerospatiale AS.350B Squirrel is the Army's rotary wing trainer. They are operated by the Australian Defence Force Helicopter School at RAAF Fairbairn near Canberra, and train all Army, Navy, and Air Force helicopter pilots.
- GIAT 30 30mm cannon
- M134D 7.62mm Minigun
- MAG 58 7.62mm GPMG
- AGM-114 Hellfire
- 70mm Hydra 70 Rockets
- FIM-92 Stinger