No. 5 Flight RAAF

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
No. 5 Flight RAAF
One of No. 5 Flight's Herons on display at the Centenary of Military Aviation 2014 airshow
One of No. 5 Flight's Herons on display at the Centenary of Military Aviation 2014 airshow
Active 2010–current
Country Australia
Branch Ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Role Training
Part of No. 92 Wing RAAF
Current base RAAF Base Amberley
Engagements War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance Heron RPA

No. 5 Flight is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft flight equipped with IAI Heron unmanned aerial vehicles.


No. 5 Flight was raised on 18 January 2010 at RAAF Base Amberley as part of No. 82 Wing.[1][2] The flight is responsible for operating the RAAF's small fleet of IAI Heron remotely piloted aircraft which are based at Kandahar in Afghanistan.[2][3]

On 13 April 2013 the responsibility for Heron RPA transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force's Surveillance and Response Group.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[1][3] The RAAF's Air Force newspaper reported in May 2011 that No. 5 Flight comprised a "handful of members".[3] 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.[2]

After a further extension of their mission, the Heron detachment was scheduled to remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014.[7] 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.[8] The final Heron UAV detachment left Afghanistan in December 2014.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ziesing, Katherine (2010). "Heron in Woomera this Year". Australian Defence Magazine 19 (2): p. 76. 
  2. ^ a b c Curran, Aaron (9 May 2013). "SRG New Home for Heron". Air Force. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Smith, Skye (12 May 2011). "5FLT training down under". Air Force. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  4. ^ RAAF. "A New Home for Heron". RAAF News. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Hupfeld, Mel. "Australia’s air combat capability 2010 – 2020" (PDF). Institute Proceedings. Royal United Services Institute of Australia. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Australia’s Heron mission in Afghanistan extended" (Press release). Department of Defence. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ McLaughlin, Andrew (3 December 2014). "RAAF Heron detachment completes Afghan mission". Australian Aviation. Retrieved 11 December 2014.