Australia Dept.Defence, January 10, 2020 - The Australian Defence Force (ADF) began providing support to the firefighting season last September.
Although the ADF is not trained, equipped or certified to undertake ground-based or aerial bush firefighting (state and territory governments have primary responsibility for the protection of life, property and the environment) is providing aviation, logistics, transport, engineering and accommodation aid to the firefighting efforts in eastern Australia.
Call out of Reserves has been authorised by the Governor-General, as part of the wider call out of the ADF and is focused on 4th, 5th, and 9th Brigades, as well as elements of the 6th Combat Support Brigade and 17th Sustainment Brigade. The call out will involve up to 3000 Reservists and commenced progressively from January 5.
The ADF established three Joint Task Forces (JTF):
JTF 646 is based on Army’s 4th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. RAAF Base East Sale is the central hub for the Defence response in southern areas.
- RAAF Base East Sale : Chinook, S-70 Black Hawk and MRH90 helicopters. A RAAF Role One Medical Facility. Army Small Unmanned Aerial System (Wasp) drones
- Bairnsdale Airport : RAAF 44WG deployed the Transportable Air Operations Tower for air traffic control
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
JTF 1110 is based on Army’s 5th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. Holsworthy Barracks is the central hub for the Defence response across NSW and the ACT.
Airbases involved in the operation includes RAAF Base Richmond, RAAF Base Williamtown, RAAF Base Wagga, HMAS Albatross, Marrangaroo Training Area and HMAS Harman.
Army and Navy MRH90, MH-60R Seahawk and EC135 helicopters are in operation.
Engineers are positioning in Maitland, Mudgee, Nowra, Bega, Tumut and the Southern Highlands to commence recovery tasking. Army has established a Role One Medical Facility at Holsworthy Barracks.
Ships HMAS Adelaide and MV Sycamore in amphibious operations including moving vehicles and stores ashore in Eden.
South Australia and Tasmania
JTF 1111 is based on Army’s 9th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. Keswick Barracks is the central hub for the Defence response across South Australia and Tasmania.
RAAF Base Edinburgh prepared as a contingency in the event of an evacuation order being given by civilian authorities on Kangaroo Island.
- New Zealand: Three NH90 helicopters at Luscombe Airfield at Holsworthy. Army engineers and their equipment arrived at Kangaroo Island.
- Singapore: Two CH-47 Chinooks from Oakey training centre have deployed to RAAF Base East Sale to support operations in Victoria.
- Papua New Guinea: A Defence Force contingent will be formed around military engineers and will combine with Australian Army personnel from the Townsville-based 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment. These personnel regularly train and exercise together and will be attached to JTF 646.
- Fiji: A platoon of engineers at East Gippsland