AP-3C Orion aircraft return to Australia after 10 years in the Middle East Area of Operations

After nearly 10 years of operational service in the Middle East the AP-3C Orion aircraft from Number 92 Wing, RAAF Base Edinburgh (SA), will return home to Australia.

Almost 90 personnel and the two Orions will return home during the next few months following a successful long term commitment as part of Operation SLIPPER.

The Orion crews have conducted overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks in Afghanistan and Iraq, maritime patrols of the Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Sea and more recently, counter-piracy missions in the vicinity of Somalia, working closely with the US-led Combined Maritime Force and other international task forces.

Throughout the almost decade-long deployment, Number 92 Wing rotated over 3500 personnel on three to six month tours of duty.

The Middle East deployment witnessed the aircraft’s role expand from being almost exclusively maritime-focussed to becoming an invaluable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset supporting land operations. One of the aircraft’s main roles was to transmit real-time surveillance video to ground force commanders in order to provide them with essential situational awareness.

With an increased availability of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance resources now available within ISAF and after more than 2400 missions, the Orion’s job in the Middle East is done.

I commend the outstanding commitment and dedication of the men and women of 92 Wing.

Their work has been an important component of Australia’s contribution to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in the Middle East. They provided a world class capability and proved themselves to be extremely versatile.

I also recognise the significant support and personal sacrifices made by the families, friends and loved ones of those who have deployed.

92 Wing’s decade of operations in the Middle East is now a significant part of the Wing’s history that deserves to be recognised.

Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528

Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999

 


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