The Australian Army has established a new Army Aviation Command in an effort to better align with and support land and amphibious forces, and special forces operations.
The new command was given its pennant, and its commander, MAJGEN Stephen Jobson was presented to a parade in Canberra on December 2 which included a flyover of two Army S-70A-9 Black Hawks and four MRH-90 Taipans.
Addressing a parade in Canberra on Thursday where the new unit was handed its pennant, Army Chief Lieutenant General Rick Burr said Army Aviation Command would strengthen the command and control of all Army’s complex aviation systems, both manned and unmanned.
“The alignment of Army’s aviation capability under its own command optimises Army Aviation to better support land, amphibious and special operations,” LTGEN Burr said. “The Command will improve resilience and adaptability and ensure Army’s training system is agile and contemporary. It provides a single of entry and coordination for industry, for air worthiness, air assurance for safety and to make sure we are delivering the capabilities that we need for our army.
“The unity, sense of purpose and focus in a single command will support our land forces to achieve more tasks, in more difficult environments,” he added. “The command also represents the delivery of another key milestone set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan.”
MAJGEN Jobson has been an Army Aviation Officer since 1989. His experience includes Commanding Officer of 6 Aviation Regiment (6Avn), Commander of 16 Aviation Brigade, Chief of Operations – NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and as the Director general of the Army Aviation Command implementation team. He has commanded ADF Tasks Forces and Groups in support of the 2011 Queensland floods, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 1997 Papua New Guinea drought.
“Aviation Command will coordinate the introduction into service of new helicopters and unmanned aerial systems, and enhance and assure the safety, effectiveness and sustainability of current aircraft,” MAJGEN Jobson said. “The changes to Army’s aviation command and control structure will simplify the management of Army’s helicopters—one of the most multifaceted and resource-intensive platforms used by the land forces.
“It is an opportunity for us to bring together aviation experience, command responsibility, and airworthiness accountability, to create a streamlined, efficient, and optimised organisation that is best-postured to move us forward into the strategic challenges and to ensure the safety and efficiency of the capabilities that our Australia public expects,” he added.
The re-alignment will see Army’s 16th Aviation Brigade and Army Aviation Training Centre transfer from Army Forces Command to Aviation Command. Army Aviation Command is located in Canberra, in close proximity to Army headquarters, Chief of the Defence Force, Joint Operations Command (JOC), and the Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).