Royal Australian Air Force: Timor-Leste
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) contributes elements to the ANZAC Battle Group, deployed by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Timor-Leste. The Timor-Leste Aviation Group (TLAG) provides a logistic and ready response capability to the Battle Group.
In 2009, the TLAG comprised about 70 personnel attached to the Battle Group, consisting of:
- An Australian Army Aviation detachment equipped with Black Hawk helicopters;
- Technical support staff, logistic staff, Headquarters and operations staff, and an emergency response cell.
Operation Astute, Department of Defence website, August 2009
“Timor-Leste Aviation Group 11 (TLAG11) – An Australian Army Aviation detachment equipped with Black Hawk helicopters and technical support staff, logistic staff, headquarters and operations staff, and an emergency response cell. TLAG 11 provides a logistic and airmobile response capability for the Joint Task Force.”
Pilots from the Timor Leste Aviation Group reach 5,000 flying hours on Operation Astute, Department of Defence website, 22 June 2009
“For the Timor Leste Aviation Group (TLAG 10) it’s been a busy four months deployment to East Timor as part of Operation Astute. They have spent their time moving troops, supplies and equipment as well as assisting with aero-medical evacuations and VIP visits. …Just as TLAG 10 was working with their Aviation Group replacements, TLAG 11, they clocked up the 5,000th flying hour collectively undertaken during Operation Astute since 2006.”
Strategic Airlift for Op Astute, Department of Defence website, 20 July 2009
“It was a case of ‘is it a bird, is it a plane’ in Dili, East Timor last week, when a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Globemaster arrived from RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland as part of a strategic airlift for Operation ASTUTE in East Timor. …The C-17 brought a Blackhawk helicopter as cargo, to replace one due to return to Australia for regular maintenance. After the replacement Blackhawk was unloaded, the one heading home for maintenance was loaded quickly and the turnaround time on the ground was close to three hours. For the Timor-Leste Aviation Group 11 (TLAG 11) team from 5 Aviation Regiment, serving with the ISF, it was time to get the replacement ready to fly as soon as possible.”
Black Hawks fly out of Dili, Department of Defence website, Operation astute images, 12 February 2009
“There are Black Hawk helicopters deployed to East Timor as part of Operation ASTUTE. The East Timor Aviation Group comprises of about 70 personnel including technical support staff, logistic staff, headquarters and operations staff and an emergency response cell. The Aviation Group provides a logistic and airmobile response capability for the operation.”
Defence Annual Report 2007-08, Volume 1, Department of Defence, p6
“Regionally, the ADF continued to contribute to the support of the governments of East Timor (Operation Astute) and Solomon Islands (Operation Anode)…On 11 February 2008, East Timorese President Horta was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt. The ADF deployed HMAS Perth and a response force of around 200 ADF personnel plus Australian Federal Police personnel by Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft to provide additional support to Timorese and international efforts to stabilise the country.”
Still in Control at 60, Air Force, vol. 48, no. 16, September 7 2006
“[RAAF School of Air Traffic Controllers] has supported all recent deployments, with instructors deploying to…Timor to relieve some of the pressure on operational units…”
Unsung Heroes Back from Dili, FLGOFF Bruce Charmers, Air Force, vol.48, no.15, August 24, 2006
“Seven Air Force personnel from 44WG may be quietly proud that between May 26 and August 12 they were responsible for the safe passage at Dili airport of 6,484 air traffic movements. They also provided valuable training to the local controllers and even mowed the airport….
“Dili airport normally has fifteen to twenty aircraft movements a day, however, the ATCs oversaw an increase of air movements to an average of 80 per day, and reaching a maximum daily air movement of 148 aircraft. In addition to RAAF aircraft, they controlled Portuguese, Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Bruneian, Indonesian, New Zealand and Guam-based US Marine military crews in and out of Dili airport. Finding there was no current aerodrome emergency plan, the group conducted a desktop exercise to assist the local controllers prepare for an airfield crash exercise. Training of local controllers in procedural control and radio procedures was also part of their duties.”
Records tumbles for 1ATS, FLGOFF Bruce Charmers, Air Force, vol.48, no.15, August 24, 2006
“Handling almost 800,000kg of cargo in just two weeks has allowed six members of 1ATS to set a new record while working at Dili airport….Initially sent to Timor-Leste to assist in the safe evacuation of Australian ex-patriates and approved foreign nationals in the Dili area as part of Operation Astute on May 25, the team quickly returned to working in the field it was best at – loading and unloading passengers and cargo.”
New role is under control, Corporal Andrew Hetherington, Air Force News, vol. 48, no.10, June 15, 2006
“382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (ECSS) from RAAF Base Amberley has found a new work role, operating out of Dili Airport terminal assisting civilians as they depart the country….382 ECSS has usual roles that involve working in logistics, administration, has a communication element and unloads and refuels aircraft”
Commentary and analysis
Interview with Brigadier Mick Slater, Commander JTF 631, Australian Army Journal, Volume 3 Number 2 2006, pp9-14.
“In purely military terms, as everyone knows, Army is very dependent on the RAN [Royal Australian Navy] and RAAF [Royal Australian Air Force]. We need them to get to the theatre, to sustain ourselves there, and to get ourselves home. I want to pay tribute to our sister services for their effort during Operation Astute. They have provided terrific support. We worked the RAAF very hard during our build up of forces and they have delivered superbly.”
Updated 24 August 2009