Jet Aviation held a ceremony in Canberra to celebrate 20 years of support for the RAAF’s King Air 350 fleet.
The company now supports a fleet of 11 operated by No. 32 Squadron.
Jet Aviation Defense APAC vice president Craig Purry said his King Air program is an “example” of how commercial support systems can work with defense.
The company first supported the aircraft in 2002 from its facility in East Sale, Australia after agreeing to a ten-year lease and turnkey support term.
In 2012, the partnership was extended for another decade and expanded to include support for over 110,000 flight hours, flight training, light transport and support roles for the Army.
“From the start, the feature has proven to be safe, reliable, flexible and effective for the ADF,” said Purry.
“The strength of the company has always been its people and the relationship between industry and defense.
“I am particularly proud of our employees, those who have been with us from the beginning as Hawker Pacific and those who remain with us today as Jet Aviation.
“All have contributed to this capability over the past 20 years, including those supporting the Army Fixed Wing Capability at Army Aviation Center in Oakey between 2005-2009 and the Townsville team supporting No. 38 Squadron between 2009-2018 .”
The modern twin-engine turboprop is primarily used for training – for both the Air Force Mission Aircrew and Navy Maritime Aviation Warfare Officers at the Air Mission Training School – but they are also used for air logistics support, electronic warfare and surveillance dispatched.
Group Captain Nigel Ward, Commanding Officer of the RAAF Air Academy, said: “The King Air 350 capability has provided the RAAF with a safe and reliable training platform for training flight crew and multi-engine glass cockpit pilots.
“King Air has provided humanitarian assistance across the region and is a regular visitor to the wider Asia-Pacific region, providing fast and reliable light-lift capacity.”
The ceremony was attended by representatives from the RAAF, the Army and Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). A larger staff celebration will be held at East Sale later in the year.
Australian Aviation reported in September how a KA350 is patrolling the southwest Pacific to conduct surveillance missions to stop illegal fishing.
The aircraft, along with a C27J Spartan, supported the island nations of Vanuatu and Kiribati as part of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Operation Island Chief.
RAAF C-27J Spartan and KA350 King Air aircraft operated out of Port Vila and Tarawa, respectively, at the request of the Kiribati government.
The crew of the KA350 King Air reportedly flew 10 missions for the FFA, spotting and reporting more than 15 suspicious vessels and helping locate 10 vessels of interest.