Air Force - Inside the new Era of Australian Air Power by Ian McPhedran

By Ian McPhedran

A revealing examine the Royal Australian Air strength in battle and peace because the East Timor obstacle in 999, from bombing raids over Bagdad and logistic help in Afghanistan, to surveillance, reconnaissance and humanitarian missions worldwide. Award-winning journalist and best-selling writer Ian McPhedran takes us on one other particular trip, this time to the guts of the RAAF via own tales of fighter pilots' bombing raids over Iraq, hi-tech secret agent planes over Afghanistan, the operational nerve centre of the center East conflict and the boys and ladies who bring humanitarian reduction and alleviate discomfort all over the world. this is often the compelling narrative within the RAAF's ninetieth yr of its plane, traditions and personalities, from the corridors of strength in Canberra to far-flung bases round Australia and the area, in additional than a decade of swift swap as expertise propels it into the following new release of air energy and the futuristic period of stealth. it's a must-read not just for aviation and armed forces buffs or people who are occupied with what the RAAF has been doing considering 999, yet for someone who has glanced skywards on the sound of an air strength airplane passing overhead. we all know much approximately what the military has been as much as on the grounds that East Timor in 999, yet what concerning the Air strength? Air strength used to be a key deterrent through the 999 East Timor situation, whilst F- s have been despatched to Tindal within the Northern Territory and used for reconnaissance flights over the island. The RAAF has been very busy on operations all over the world, from F/A- eight Hornet opponents losing bombs on Saddam's palaces in Baghdad to Hercules C- 30 and large C- 7 delivery planes helping battle combating and humanitarian missions all around the globe. Then there are the P-3 Orion undercover agent planes flying clandestine evening missions during the heart East or utilizing their high-tech imaging apparatus to discover misplaced yachtsmen within the Southern Ocean. that includes unpublished and formerly mystery fabric, together with bomb digital camera imagery.

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He became more concerned about shredding a journalist or local civilian than a confrontation with Indonesian soldiers. ‘I was worried that a civilian might wander into the aircraft’s path and get injured [because] there wasn’t much security around there when we first got in there,’ he says. ‘We did engine-running off-loads, where we kept the engines running, because we wanted to maintain the flow and we didn’t want any aircraft to break down. We were [also] doing combat off-loads, so just basically taxiing in with all four engines running, pushing pallets out, getting people out and trying to depart as quickly as possible.

At the peak of the operation more than 5500 Australian military personnel from all services were engaged in INTERFET and the RAAF’s Herc fleet flew dozens of sorties between Darwin, Tindal, Dili and East Timor’s largest airfield at Baucau in the east of the island. The Baucau strip has the longest runway in the country and had been its main airport until the Indonesian invasion in 1975. Nicholas’s first flight back into Komoro airfield for Operation Warden was nerve-racking because the airport status was uncertain and appeared not properly secured.

Now they are systems operators and tacticians, they run defensive systems, they run radar systems, they run weapons, across the air force, and then they also apply their knowledge to make smart tactics and employ that platform. So the job is evolving rapidly. ’ By 2009 Nicholas had done everything in the Hercules world and was the chief of staff at Air Lift Group. He rates the East Timor mission as a high point. ‘It was also a big deal in recent Australian military history. Obviously since then we’ve had Iraq and Afghanistan, which are probably another whole level again,’ he says.

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