Minister for Defence - Army Blackhawks to join mission in Vanuatu

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The Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Defence

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21 March 2015

Today the Royal Australian Air Force will transport two Army S-70 Blackhawk helicopters to Vanuatu to boost the availability of tactical transport aircraft to outlying regions of the country.

The Blackhawks can carry heavy loads underslung and can move stores and personnel inside its cabin.

Presently around 78 ADF personnel are deployed in Vanuatu, and another 335 personnel embarked in HMAS Tobruk (including the ship’s crew of 177) are expected to arrive early next week.

Tobruk will bring important heavy engineering, communication, medical and transport equipment, including a Navy MRH-90 Taipan multirole helicopter and two LCM8 landing craft.

This contribution will enable relief efforts to reach more remote parts of the country.

With the arrival of the two Blackhawk helicopters via a C-17A Globemaster III strategic heavy lift aircraft later today, the range of Defence aircraft assisting Vanuatu will expand to include:

 - C-17A Globemaster III Strategic Heavy Lift Aircraft
 - C-130J Hercules transport aircraft
 - AP-3C Maritime patrol aircraft
 - KA350 King Air tactical utility aircraft
 - S-70 Blackhawk medium lift tactical helicopter
 - MRH-90 Taipan multirole helicopter (from early next week)

The ADF continues to provide aerial reconnaissance, disaster assessment and to deliver relief aid in support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-led relief efforts to Vanuatu.

Media contacts:
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrew’s Office) 0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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