16 Brigade (Aviation) Commander Brigadier Shayne Elder and Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin signed the aircraft handover documents at RAAF Townsville on November 20.
“The new fleet of King Airs can provide a degree of efficiency and reliability which we have struggled to achieve with our fleet of ageing Caribou,” said AIRMSHL Binskin. “At the same time, the 38SQN pilots and technicians will also gain useful experience working on a modern aircraft type, allowing them to more efficiently transfer to other parts of the RAAF fleet.”
The three ex Army King Airs and five new build aircraft will now be operated by 38 Squadron as an ‘Interim Light Transport’, replacing 38SQN’s retiring Caribou tactical transports.
173 Squadron meanwhile is to re-equip with Kiowa helicopters and will operate from Holsworthy Army Barracks, south of Sydney, taking on an operational support and training role.
The handover also marks the end of fixed-wing Army Aviation flying.