The Australian Army Aviation Corps has celebrated the 50th anniversary of its formation with a number of flypasts of key Army Aviation base cities.
The flypasts were conducted at the 5th Aviation Regiment (5Avn) home base of Townsville, 6Avn’s base of Sydney, 1Avn’s base at Darwin, and the Australian Army Aviation Training Centre’s base at Oakey west of Brisbane.
The anniversary also saw the final retirement of the Bell 206B-1 Kiowa training and light observation helicopter which entered service in 1971, and has been replaced by the joint-service Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) Airbus H135 at Nowra.
“Then and now, the Corps is committed to helping the Australian soldier fight, survive and win, and be ready to serve wherever needed,” Head of the Australian Army Aviation Corps, Brigadier Scott Benbow said in a release to mark the occasion.
“From a small Corps formed in 1968 flying light fixed-wing aircraft, the Australian Army Aviation Corps has grown to be an advanced, state-of-the-art force. Today, the Australian Army Aviation Corps flies a variety of capabilities, including the Tiger armed reconnaissance, Chinook medium lift and Taipan multi role helicopters.”
The former fixed-wing elements of the AAAC including the Pilatus Porter, GAF Nomad and more recently, the B200/350 King Air have long been retired or transferred to RAAF service. About a dozen S-70A-9 Black Hawks remain in service with 6Avn, although these are scheduled to be phased out from 2019 as the MRH 90 assumes the commando and special operations support role.