Military Capabilities

IMDEX 2019: Australia demonstrates aviation flexibility at Malaysian leg of Indo-Pacific Endeavour

13 May 2019

An Australian Army Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter lands on HMAS Canberra's flight deck during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019. Source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Key Points

  • The Australian Army has demonstrated its ability to rapidly assemble, and deploy ARH Tiger helicopters from a foreign airbase
  • The operation underscores its aviation corps' ability to provide aerial support even in deployed scenarios

The Australian Army Aviation Corps (AA Avn) has for the first time conducted a shore-to-ship flight operation involving Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters (ARHs) deployed from a foreign airbase.

The operation was conducted during the Malaysian leg of Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE) 2019, while the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) first-of-class Canberra amphibious ship was docked in Port Klang.

Jane's has learnt from a government source that a consignment of four Tiger ARHs was flown into the Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF's) Subang Air Base in the assembled state via a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter as part of the operation.

The aircraft were subsequently assembled on the base by crew from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and then flown to Port Klang where they landed on HMAS Canberra .

The shore-to-ship operation from Subang represents only the second time that Australia has deployed the Tiger ARH from a foreign location - with the first involving a single airframe flown from Papua New Guinea in 2018, Jane's has been informed.

The Australian Army's ability to undertake these operations is demonstration of the strong friendships it has in the region, particularly with Malaysia - a co-signatory to the Five Powers Defence Arrangement (FPDA). It is also a testament to the AA Avn's ability to provide aerial support for Australian Defence Force (ADF) joint task group operations, even when deployed in foreign environments, the source added.

Canberra is on a tour of South and Southeast Asia as part of IPE 2019 Joint Task Force. The ship is currently docked at RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base to participate in the IMDEX 2019 naval exhibition.

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