Sunday, March 5, 2023

Three Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook Helicopters Pass Through Rockhampton Airport Heading to HMAS Canberra to Support Vanuatu Relief Efforts

On Saturday 4 March, three Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopters were spotted passing through Rockhampton Airport.  It is believed that they were heading from Townsville to Sydney to rendezvous with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Canberra (L02), which is docked at the Garden Island Naval Base and soon heading to Vanuatu to provide support to Pacific Island nation in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Judy and Tropical Cyclone Kevin.

The three Chinooks are believed to have worn the serial numbers A15-304, A15-305 and A15-307 and looked to arrive into Rockhampton Airport from Townsville (pictured below) for a refuel together as "Chainsaw".  They are pictured later departing to RAAF Base Amberley.

On Sunday 5 March, all three Chinook helicopters of the Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment based at Townsville, landed on the deck of the HMAS Canberra prior to setting sail later in the day.

HMAS Canberra loaded vehicles and aircraft in Sydney in readiness to sail as part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) response to the DFAT-led, Whole-of-Government support to Vanuatu in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Judy and Tropical Cyclone Kevin. Australia is proud to work with the Government of Vanuatu, the Pacific family and other partners to provide humanitarian support.

Meanwhile, during the previous week, a visiting United States Army (US Army) Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopter conducted a series of deck-based training activities aboard HMAS Canberra while alongside at Fleet Base East in Sydney. 

The US Army AH-64E Apache - serial AH-64E 20-03330 - was in Sydney while in transit to the Australian International Airshow 2023 in Avalon Victoria, presenting Army and Navy personnel with an ideal training opportunity ahead of the arrival of Australia’s future AH-64E Apache fleet in 2025. Training includes a landing and take-off serial, general deck handling, refuelling serials and Navy and Army future integration opportunities.

The Apache was delivered to RAAF Base Richmond along with a US Army Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter with serial 13-20592.

Photos taken by John Lee  ©
Additional photos are Defence Images...

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