6th Aviation Regiment (Australia)

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6th Aviation Regiment
1st Commando Regiment soldier jumping out of an Australian Army blackhawk helicopter in 2013.jpg
A 1st Commando Regiment soldier jumping from a 171st Aviation Squadron Black Hawk helicopter in 2013
Active 2008–current
Country Australia
Branch Australian Army
Type Aviation
Part of 16th Aviation Brigade
Headquarters Holsworthy Barracks
Aircraft flown
Multirole helicopter Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk

The 6th Aviation Regiment is one of the Australian Army's three Army Aviation regiments and was raised on 1 March 2008 to provide air mobility for the Australian Army Special Operations Command.[1][2]

The 6th Aviation Regiment, equipped with S70A Black Hawk helicopters, forms part of the 16th Aviation Brigade and is headquartered at Luscombe Army Airfield, Holsworthy Barracks, Sydney which was vacated by 161st Reconnaissance Squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment in 1995.[3][1][4]

History[edit]

In November 2004, 'A' Squadron of the 5th Aviation Regiment based at RAAF Base Townsville swapped designations with the 171st Operational Support Squadron.[2] The Squadron separated from the 1st Aviation Regiment and was placed under the command of the 16th Aviation Brigade as an independent squadron and was re-designated as the "171st Aviation Squadron" to provide support to Special Operations Command.[5][2] From December 2006, the Squadron commenced relocating to Luscombe Airfield.[6]

In March 2008, the 6th Aviation Regiment was raised following the implementation of a recommendation from the Board of Inquiry into the Crash of Black Hawk 221 and incorporated the 171st Aviation Squadron.[1][3][2]

In November 2009, the Australian Army transferred all fixed wing surveillance aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force.[4] 173rd Surveillance Squadron subsequently re-equipped with the Kiowa Light Utility Helicopter and re-roled as an Advanced Training Squadron for future Tiger ARH and MRH 90 Taipan pilots and was re-designated as the "173rd Aviation Squadron" based at Luscombe Airfield.[4][7] In 2013, the Squadron converted to Black Hawk helicopters.[4]

Structure[edit]

The regiment comprises:[1]

Operations[edit]

Notable operations include:

  • Operation Queensland Flood Assist (2011 disaster assistance in South East Queensland)
  • 2012 support to PNG elections

Equipment[edit]

The Regiment was planned to transition to the MRH 90 Taipan an Australian variant of the NHI NH90, however significant problems were encountered and it could not be certified for special operations including fast roping and there was an issue re-siting a machine gun used during fast roping or rappelling.[8]

In February 2016, it was announced in the Defence White Paper 2016 that dedicated light helicopters would be acquired from around 2025 to support special forces operations which could be deployed in the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, and can insert, extract and provide fire support for small teams of special forces undertaking tasks ranging from tactical observation through to counter-terrorism missions, or hostage recovery.[9][10]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service
Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk  United States Multi-role transport helicopter S-70A-9 20[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "6th Aviation Regiment". Australian Army. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Black Hawk 221 Board of Inquiry 2007–2008" (PDF). Australian Defence Force. Retrieved 3 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Gubler, Abraham (2008). "Army Aviation's New Decade of Growth". Asia Pacific Defence Reporter. 34 (5): 16–19. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Army aviation in Australia 1970–2015 Factsheet" (PDF). Australian Army. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "1st Aviation Regiment". Australian Army. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Aircrews fly high at new work site". Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1160 ed.). Canberra: Department of Defence. 22 February 2007. ISSN 0729-5685. Archived from the original on 2011-04-04. 
  7. ^ Brooke, Michael (18 March 2010). "Team effort raises sqn" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1231 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Kerr, Julian (2 December 2015). "Australian Army to extend Black Hawk service lives for special forces use". Jane 's Defence Weekly (53.4). Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  9. ^ 2016 Defence Whitepaper (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 978-0-9941680-5-4. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  10. ^ 2016 Integrated Investment Program (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 978-0-9941680-6-1. Retrieved 30 July 2016.