The Australian Army has transferred one of its remaining CH-47D Chinooks, A15-202, to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra as part of the type’s withdrawal and disposal from service.
A15-202 departed C Squadron’s flight line in Townsville on April 16 in company with CH-47F A15-303, with the pair of Chinooks making the journey down to Canberra via Rockhampton, RAAF Base Amberley, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga, arriving at the Fairbairn Defence Establishment, Canberra Airport on the Tuesday morning.
After collecting VIPs for the ceremonial final flight to Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC), in Canberra’s north, A15-202 took off from Canberra Airport and joined up with A15-303 to conduct a session of air-to-air photography over some Canberra landmarks including the Royal Military College Duntroon, Defence Headquarters at Russell, Old Parliament House and the new Parliament House.
A15-202, callsign “Brahman”, made its final landing at EPIC shortly after 1030 local time in front of the Deputy Chief of Army, Major General Rick Burr, Head Helicopter Systems Division, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Major General Andrew Mathewson and the Director of the AWM Dr Brendan Nelson.
An Airservices ARFF tender was on standby at EPIC for the arrival.
Named Centaur after the mythological creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse, A15-202 was one of two additional CH-47Ds acquired under Project AIR 130 in 2001 and was one of a total of eight CH-47Ds to be operated by 5 Aviation Regiment’s C Squadron, based in Townsville.
The Chinook was one of Army’s first CH-47Ds to be deployed to Afghanistan in March 2006, and made four rotations there to support International Security Assistance Force operations, serving in theatre for a total of 513 days.
On the evening of April 21, A15-202 will be towed the short distance up Flemington Road from EPIC to its new home at the AWM’s Mitchell annex, adding to the museum’s National Collection alongside some of its other large aircraft including the last operational RAAF Caribou, A4-140.
Only two CH-47Ds remain in service with C Squadron. Their retirement and disposal plans are pending.
Here is how photographer Paul Sadler captured A15-202’s final flights before retirement: