|Australian 5th Aviation Regiment|
|Active||1987 – Present|
|Part of||16th (Aviation) Brigade|
|Decorations||Meritorious Unit Citation|
|Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC|
S-70A Blackhawk |
The 5th Aviation Regiment (5 Avn Regt) is an Australian Army aviation unit. The Regiment is based at Townsville and operates the majority of the Army's transport helicopters. The Regiment currently forms part of the 16th (Aviation) Brigade.
The 5th Aviation Regiment was formed at Townsville, Queensland on 20 November 1987 to operate the S-70A-9 Blackhawk and UH-1 Iroquois helicopters which had previously been operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) following the decision to transfer these assets to the Australian Army. In 1989 No. 9 Squadron RAAF (S-70A) became the Regiment's 'A' Squadron and No. 35 Squadron RAAF (UH-1) became 'B' Squadron. 'B' Squadron was later re-equipped with Blackhawks.
The Regiment was expanded in 1995 when 'C' Squadron was formed to operate CH-47 Chinook and UH-1 Iroquois helicopters (the later in the aerial fire support role). These Iroquois helicopters were transferred to the 1st Aviation Regiment in 1998. In late 2003 'A' Squadron and the UH-1 equipped 171st Squadron swapped designations, with the former 'A' Squadron becoming an independent squadron supporting Special Operations Command (Australia). The 'new' (UH-1 equipped) 'A' Squadron subsequently re-equipped with 12 MRH-90 medium helicopters and 'B' Squadron will also be equipped with these aircraft by 2015.
Since its formation elements of the Regiment have made operational deployments to Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Iraq, Indonesia and Pakistan. A detachment of two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Regiment was deployed to Afghanistan between late March 2006 and April 2007. In early 2008 two Chinooks were deployed with RWG 1 and than again with RWG 2 in June 2008 as part of Operation Slipper where they took part in combat operations. These operations continued in 2009 and 2010. Eight Blackhawks were deployed to East Timor in May 2006 as part of Operation Astute. Three Blackhawks helped distribute aid to victims of flooding in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea in late 2007 as part of Operation Papua New Guinea Assist.
On 31 May 2011, Chinook from C Squadron crashed while operating in Afghanistan. The aircraft was conducting a re-supply mission in company with a US Army Chinook in Zabul Province when it crashed, injuring six personnel on board. The most seriously wounded, passenger Lieutenant Marcus Case, was evacuated by the accompanying US Army helicopter but later died of his injuries. He was an Australian Army pilot deployed with No. 5 Flight RAAF at Kandahar. The other five injured survived the crash and were evacuated to Kandahar. The helicopter, a CH-47D (ADF serial A15-102) attached to the US Army 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Kandahar, was assessed as being unrecoverable and was subsequently destroyed at the site of the crash. There was no insurgent activity at the time of the crash, and enemy fire was ruled out as a contributing cause.
The eleventh, and final, deployment of 5th Aviation Regiment personnel and Chinooks to Afghanistan was completed on 14 September 2013.
The 5th Aviation Regiment currently consists of:
- Headquarters Squadron
- A Squadron (MRH-90)
- B Squadron (S-70A Blackhawk)
- C Squadron (CH-47 Chinook)
- Technical Support Squadron
- Logistic Support Squadron
- Eather 1995, p. 151.
- "5th Aviation Regiment". Department of Defence. http://www.army.gov.au/Who-we-are/Divisions-and-Brigades/Forces-Command/16th-Aviation-Brigade/5th-Aviation-Regiment. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Army Aviation: the Army's air force". Digger History. http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-army-today/rar-sasr/army-aviation.htm. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "Two Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan". Australian Department of Defence. 31 May 2011. http://www.defence.gov.au/media/DepartmentalTpl.cfm?CurrentId=11886. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- "Australian Chinook crashes in Afghanistan". Australian Aviation. 1 June 2011. http://australianaviation.com.au/2011/06/chinook-down-in-afghanistan/. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- "Update on Afghanistan helicopter incident". Australian Department of Defence. 1 June 2011. http://www.defence.gov.au/media/DepartmentalTpl.cfm?CurrentId=11899. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- "Australia’s Chinook mission in Afghanistan complete". Media release. Department of Defence. 16 September 2013. http://news.defence.gov.au/2013/09/16/australias-chinook-mission-in-afghanistan-complete/. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, ACT: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3.
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