Oakey Army Aviation Centre

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Oakey Army Aviation Centre
Army Aviation Centre Oakey.jpg
Swartz Barracks, 2014
IATA: OKYICAO: YBOK
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator Australian Army, Republic of Singapore Air Force Squadron 126
Location Oakey, Queensland
Elevation AMSL 1,335 ft / 407 m
Coordinates 27°24′41″S 151°44′07″E / 27.41139°S 151.73528°E / -27.41139; 151.73528Coordinates: 27°24′41″S 151°44′07″E / 27.41139°S 151.73528°E / -27.41139; 151.73528
Map
YBOK is located in Queensland
YBOK
YBOK
Location in Queensland
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 914 2,999 Asphalt
09/27 1,089 3,573 Asphalt
14/32 1,649 5,410 Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]

Oakey Army Aviation Centre (IATA: OKYICAO: YBOK) is situated approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) from the town centre of Oakey in Queensland, Australia. It provides a training establishment for Australian Army Aviation, and also hosts a Singapore Armed Forces Helicopter Squadron, namely the 126 Squadron. The Defence name for the facility is Swartz Barracks, named for prominent politician, Army Aviation advocate, and ex-POW Sir Reginald Swartz KBE MBE.

History[edit]

The base was constructed in 1943 by the Royal Australian Air Force as RAAF Base Oakey as a training facility for No.6 Aircraft Depot and overflow aircraft maintenance depot for RAAF Base Amberley. It was later to store surplus aircraft after the war.[2]

On 1 July 1968, the Australian Army Aviation Corps was formed with the Department of Civil Aviation aerodrome at Oakey transferred to Army control on 1 July 1969 for the Corps base.[3][4]

6 Aviation Squadron (Reconnaissance) relocated from RAAF Amberley and additional Army Aviation units were raised including Headquarters Army Aviation Centre to control the airfield and the Army Aviation Centre Base Squadron.[4] By the end of 1973, the remainder of 1st Aviation Regiment had relocated, including the School of Army Aviation formed from the Training Squadron, and also 5 Base Workshop Battalion of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) to provide fleet maintenance.[3][4] Also, 173 General Support Squadron and 171 Command and Liaison Squadron were formed at Oakley.[3]

In 1998, the Army Aviation Training Centre (AAvnTC) was formed at Oakey to command the School of Army Aviation (SAA), the ADF Helicopter School later renamed the Army Helicopter School (AHS) and the RAEME Aircraft Maintenance School later renamed the Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance School (RAMS).[3][4]

In 2001, the Army Helicopter School was moved from RAAF Fairbairn to Oakey.[3] In 2004, Iroquois from 1st Aviation Regiment at Oakey were moved to 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.[3]

During 2005–06, the 1st Aviation Regiment moved its Headquarters, technical and logistic support squadrons and other elements to Robertson Barracks in Darwin.[5] In 2006, a disbandment parade was held at Oakey for the last independent RAEME Workshop.[3]

In 2007, Boeing Australia was announced the successful tenderer for the Army Aviation Training and Training Support (AATTS) contract and commenced providing with pilot, aircrew and technician training for the Kiowa and Black Hawks helicopters and also operational fleet maintenance. In 2010, a new expanded contract was awarded to include most facets of military rotary wing flying training for Kiowa, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters. [6]

In 2009, 173rd Aviation Squadron, ceased operations at Oakey, with the forced transfer of the unit's Beechcraft King Air 350 to the RAAF.[7]

In 2010, with realignment of Army Chain of Command, the base units of the Army Aviation Training Centre came under the control and responsibility of Army Forces Command.

During the period up to the early 1990s, aircraft types operating from the base included Bell OH-58 Kiowa, Bell UH-1 Iroquois, Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk, Pilatus Porter, and GAF Nomad.

Units[edit]

Australian Defence Force (ADF) units currently based at Oakey include:

Republic of Singapore units currently based at Oakey include:

Aircraft[edit]

The base currently utilises the following aircraft types:

Visiting types include:

Warbirds:

  • Various warbird types visit the airfield as part of the Army Aviation Museum Annual Fly-In.

Facilities[edit]

The base facilities include accommodation for students attending courses and single members working on the base. Other facilities include tennis courts, squash courts, basketball and netball court, football ovals, heated 25 m (82 ft) indoor swimming pool, equipped gymnasium, defence banking and credit union branches, and a AAFCANS kiosk (with ATM), as well as messing facilities for Soldiers, SNCO, and Officers.

Australian Army Flying Museum[edit]

Museum entrance, 2014

The Australian Army Flying Museum reopened in September 2005 in new buildings on land adjacent to the airport, after a grant was provided by the Australian Government. Distinguished guests included national and local dignitaries, including well known aviation identity Dick Smith. The purpose-built facility includes many historical aircraft tracing the history of the Aviation Corps in the Australian Army and back to the Australian Flying Corps during World War I. Featured types in the collection of aircraft include Bell 47, Bell OH-58 Kiowa, GAF Nomad, Pilatus PC-6 Porter, and Cessna 180. The museum also maintains a significant collection of artefacts dating from the inception of the Army Flying Corps and WWI to the present day.

The Australian Army Flying Museum[8] is a sub-unit of the Army History Unit, a direct command unit of the Australian Army Headquarters.

Airlines, facilities and destinations[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Whilst the airfield is military controlled and regulated, a small civil terminal has been maintained on the airfield for many years. The current terminal structure was built at the same time as the new buildings for the Army Flying Museum refurbishment in 2005, and shares the access road to this facility.

The airfield does not cater for RPT airline services, however it does provide an emergency alternative in the event of adverse weather.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ YBOK – Oakey (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 10 November 2016, Aeronautical Chart
  2. ^ "Oakey". Royal Australian Air Force. RAAF Museum. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Army aviation in Australia, 1970–2015" (PDF). Australian Army Flying Museum. Australian Army. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d "History of Australian Army Aviation". Lt Colonel A Argent AAAvnC (Ret), Colonel R Harding AAAvnC (Ret), Brigadier Brian H Cooper AAAvnC (Ret), Brigadier Robert Walford. Digger History – Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Ashby-Cliffe, Cpl Jane (24 July 2008). "No place like home" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1194 ed). Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Boeing Signs AU$44M Contract Expansion for Australian Army Rotary Wing Support". Boeing. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Hamilton, Eamon (10 December 2009). "Fixed Wings Freed" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper. Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. p. 6. ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Australian Army Flying Museum (AAFM)

External links[edit]