For the first time in over six years, Swartz Barracks have opened their doors, hosting an open day in conjunction with the Australian Army Flying Museum. More commonly known as the Army Aviation Centre Oakey or Oakey, Swartz Barracks is the home for ARH Tiger and MRH90 Tapiain aircrew and groundcrew training. Oakey is also home to a permanent detachment from the Republic of Singapore Air Force and their newly acquired CH-47F Chinooks.
Shortly before midday, a four-ship formation of Tigers and Taipans departed Oakey in preparation for a simulated airmobile insertion on several insurgents. Dropping to treetop level to the east of the base, the two ARH Tigers — A38-001 and A38-008 — popped up from amongst the scrub and performed a series of high-speed passes and demonstrated their handling capabilities with tight turns and ascents.
Several minutes later the two MRH90 Taipans — A40-009 and A40-027 — arrived on the scene, dropping off six soldiers each. Following a further display by the Tigers, the two Taipans returned to pick up the soldiers before forming up for a four-ship formation pass. The display provided an excellent insight into the interoperability between aircraft platforms in order to execute a mission.
Forming the static display were six helicopters situated on and around the apron outside the Australian Army Flying Museum (AAFM) on the eastern side of the base. From the Australian Army were ARH Tiger A38-002 and MRH90 Taipan A40-015, both of which were opened up for viewing with aircrew and support crew providing overviews and answering questions to visitors. Towed out of the AAFM facility were CH-47D Chinook A15-104 and S-70A Black Hawk A25-220. Also on display off to the side of the apron was Helicorp Bell 412 VH-LWF. Painted in Toll Aviation colours, the helicopter is operating under contract providing search and rescue capabilities to the base.
On display to the public for the first time was the Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47F Chinook operated by No. 127 Squadron. Fresh off the production line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 88161 arrived into Australia in April 2021 by ship. These new Chinooks replace the older Delta model which had called Oakey home from mid-2018. There are currently five of the new Foxtrot models at the Oakey detachment with a further five to join over the coming year. The remaining six airframes from the sixteen-strong order will be based at Sembawang, Singapore, the main operating base for the country’s rotary-wing fleet.