No. 5 Flight RAAF
|No. 5 Flight RAAF|
One of No. 5 Flight's Herons on display at the Centenary of Military Aviation 2014 airshow
|Branch||Royal Australian Air Force|
|Part of||No. 92 Wing RAAF|
|Current base||RAAF Base Amberley|
|Engagements||War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
No. 5 Flight was raised on 18 January 2010 at RAAF Base Amberley as part of No. 82 Wing. The flight is responsible for operating the RAAF's small fleet of IAI Heron remotely piloted aircraft which are based at Kandahar in Afghanistan.
On 13 April 2013 the responsibility for Heron RPA transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force's Surveillance and Response Group. The flight's responsibilities include training personnel from all branches of the Australian Defence Force to operate the Herons in Australia, and maintaining a detachment of personnel at Kandahar who operate the RPAs as part of Operation Slipper, Australia's contribution to the war in Afghanistan. The RAAF acquired a third Heron during 2011 which No. 5 Flight uses to train RPA operators in Australia; prior to this time Heron operators were trained in Canada. The RAAF's Air Force newspaper reported in May 2011 that No. 5 Flight comprised a "handful of members". On 4 April 2013 the flight transferred to No. 92 Wing; at this time it had a strength of 18 full-time personnel and three reservists, and operated four Herons. Three of the UAVs were deployed to Afghanistan and the fourth was in Australia.
After a further extension of their mission, the Heron detachment is scheduled to remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. It was announced in October 2014 that two Herons will be retained in Australia for a six year period; at this time one of the UAVs was based at Woomera, South Australia and the other will be transported from Afghanistan. It is planned that the two Herons will eventually operate from other Australian military and civilian airfields.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to IAI Heron in Australian service.|
- Ziesing, Katherine (2010). "Heron in Woomera this Year". Australian Defence Magazine 19 (2): p. 76.
- Curran, Aaron (9 May 2013). "SRG New Home for Heron". Air Force. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- Smith, Skye (12 May 2011). "5FLT training down under". Air Force. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- RAAF. "A New Home for Heron". RAAF News. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- McLaughlin, Andrew (April 2010). "Nankeen. The RAAF enters the RPA era with Heron lease". Australian Aviation (Fyshwick: Phantom Media) (270): p. 31. ISSN 0813-0876.
- Hupfeld, Mel. "Australia’s air combat capability 2010 – 2020". Institute Proceedings. Royal United Services Institute of Australia. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- "Australia’s Heron mission in Afghanistan extended" (Press release). Department of Defence. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Minister for Defence – Heron to be retained to keep Australia’s unmanned aerial capability". Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.