Minister for Defence - Operation PACIFIC ASSIST Update

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The Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Defence

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19 March 2015

The Australian Defence Force has increased its response to the Australian aid mission to Vanuatu following the departure of HMAS Tobruk overnight for Vanuatu with 335 personnel onboard.

Troops and equipment from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment and a Navy MRH90 Taipan helicopter are embarked and the ship is also loaded with additional Australian Aid supplies.

The ADF is also preparing to deploy two Army S-70 Blackhawk helicopters to Vanuatu along with crews and support personnel to assist with mobility to isolated areas.

The Royal Australian Air Force continues to provide significant support. C-17A Globemaster III aircraft continue to move personnel, stores and equipment to Vanuatu, and C-130J Hercules aircraft are flying both between Australia and Vanuatu as well as providing airlift between Port Vila and outlying provinces.

Air Force KA350 King Air aircraft are providing reconnaissance and local air movement support in the region, and AP-3C Orion aircraft continue to fly imagery reconnaissance missions over Vanuatu.

Yesterday an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) team was flown from Darwin to Vanuatu via a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A to join the Australian effort.

Media contacts:

Chloe Petch (Minister Andrew’s Office) 0477 395 356

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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