Air Force AP-3C Orions achieve Middle East milestone
18 August 2011
The Royal Australian Air Force’s AP-3C Orion detachment has chalked up a remarkable milestone of 20,000 hours of operational missions in support of operations in the Middle East.
On Tuesday, 15 August, one of the two Orion aircraft currently in the Middle East flew an overland mission in search of insurgents in southern Afghanistan when the milestone was recorded.
The AP-3C aircraft are deployed from RAAF base Edinburgh, South Australia.
The Air Component Commander, Group Captain Paul Nicholas said approximately 2800 personnel have deployed in support of AP-3C operations in the Middle East since 2003 and this milestone was testament to both the professionalism and hard work of 92 Wing 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,” Group Captain Nicholas said.
“Our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions were initially focused on maritime missions in the Arabian Gulf region and soon expanded to overland missions in support of the stabilisation of Iraq.
“Today, our commitment extends from Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Indian Ocean off East Africa in support of maritime security and counter-piracy operations.”
Group Captain Nicholas said the achievement of the milestone was testament to the efforts of the aircrew and maintenance personnel along with the enabling efforts of Intelligence, Imagery Analysts, Operations Officers, logistics and many other combat support personnel who are essential to providing the AP-3C capability.
“Our maintenance personnel begin work on the aircraft as soon as they return from operations. Their work is professionally rewarding and their efforts have made a significant contribution to the safe and ongoing operation of these aircraft.”
20,000 hours of operational missions equates to 833 days of 24-hour operations or two and a quarter years of continuous flying.
To celebrate the milestone, an Australian and British fire-fighting truck provided a traditional water canon welcome to Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE where the two AP-3C Orion aircraft are stationed.
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