Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Australia Army's 1st Aviation Regiment bids farewell to Kiowa

THE Army's Kiowa helicopters took to Top End skies for the last time yesterday.A formation of seven of the old choppers left their base at Robertson Barracks and roared across Darwin city to mark their farewell from frontline military duties.The choppers have served Defence for more than three decades.

They have been replaced by the futuristic Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters.1st Aviation Regiment soldiers stood on the tarmac and saluted the Kiowas as they flew over the army barracks near Palmerston under the escort of the Tigers.Regiment executive officer Major Brett Whitcombe said the departure of the Kiowas - known as the "workhorse" of the army - was a significant milestone.

"It changes the unit from a battlefield support role to a true combat role," he said.He said the Kiowa had no weaponry systems and was used for reconnaissance, whereas the Tiger was a world-class fighting machine.
1st Brigade commanding officer Brigadier Michael Krause, who enjoyed one last ride in the choppers, said their departure only meant the end of their front line and operational duties.Their service will continue at military facilities for training purposes.

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