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Australian Army Helicopters Depart For Indonesia

Army Helicopters Depart For Humanitarian Assistance In Indonesia

A number of Army helicopters were today loaded into a giant Antonov jet transport for transshipment to Indonesia as part of the Australian Government's response to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

Three Oakey-based Iroquois "Huey" helicopters from A Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment, together with six trucks have departed from RAAF Amberley this morning for Jakarta, before deploying to Medan, the primary forward operating base. The detachment of 47 personnel will depart Amberley later today.

Brigadier Tony Fraser, Commander of 16th Aviation Brigade, said the helicopters were the best suited for the mission.

"We expect the Hueys will be tasked with casualty evacuation as well as deploying specialist teams and humanitarian aid forward to isolated areas that are currently inaccessible. For us the Iroquois, with its relatively low rotor downwash compared to some of our other helicopters, can operate in areas where there is debris and in close proximity to structures with the least risk to people on the ground. We understand that gaining fuel for the aircraft is still quite a challenge and this aircraft is versatile yet not too thirsty.

"Our soldiers are most keen to utilise their professional skills to assist the people of Sumatra who have suffered such a terrible tragedy," he said.

Australian Army Iroquois helicopters have been deployed to a number of regional neighbours to undertake humanitarian assistance, including the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville.

A further Iroquois helicopter will depart on Monday 3rd January for Indonesia.

© Scoop Media

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