Choppers drop in to boost flood support


Three Army MRH-90 Taipan and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters have landed in Broome, Western Australia, to support the ongoing flood emergency in the Kimberley region.

The helicopters pulled in alongside the Air Force C130J Hercules and C-27J Spartan aircraft that were already in Broome to support emergency service agencies.

The fixed-wing C-130J and C-27Js have been used to transport critical food, medical supplies and emergency services personnel around the region, where key roads have been cut due to flooding in the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie.

Commander Task Element Squadron Leader Mitch Beck said the arrival of the helicopters would allow Defence to better support the relief efforts by setting up a “hub and spoke” operation.

“The helicopters will be used between the isolated communities and small regional airports, including Derby,” Squadron Leader Beck said.

“The C-27Js will transport aid between those airports and Broome, and the C-130J will provide long-range sustainment as far as Perth and Darwin.”

The five helicopters, their aircrews and a team of support personnel arrived from the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville after flying across the Top End.

They are due to commence operations in the Kimberley region no later than January 12.

The ADF is providing assistance to the Western Australian Government at the request of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Defence will continue to work closely with NEMA in monitoring the flood situation.

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