Oakey Army Aviation Centre
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Oakey Army Aviation Centre (IATA: OKY, ICAO: YBOK) is situated approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) from the town centre of Oakey in Queensland, Australia. It provides a training establishment for Australian Army Aviation, and also hosts a Singapore Armed Forces Helicopter Squadron, namely the 126 Squadron. The Defence name for the facility is Swartz Barracks, named for prominent politician, Army Aviation advocate, and ex-POW Sir Reginald Swartz.
Oakey Army Aviation Centre
Swartz Barracks, 2014
|Operator||Australian Army, Republic of Singapore Air Force Squadron 126|
|Elevation AMSL||1,335 ft / 407 m|
The base was constructed in 1943 by the Royal Australian Air Force as RAAF Base Oakey as a training facility for No.6 Aircraft Depot and overflow aircraft maintenance depot for RAAF Base Amberley. It was later to store surplus aircraft after the war.
6 Aviation Squadron (Reconnaissance) relocated from RAAF Amberley and additional Army Aviation units were raised including Headquarters Army Aviation Centre to control the airfield and the Army Aviation Centre Base Squadron. By the end of 1973, the remainder of 1st Aviation Regiment had relocated, including the School of Army Aviation formed from the Training Squadron, and also 5 Base Workshop Battalion of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) to provide fleet maintenance. Also, 173 General Support Squadron and 171 Command and Liaison Squadron were formed at Oakley. During the period up to the early 1990s, aircraft types operating from the base included Bell OH-58 Kiowa, Bell UH-1 Iroquois, Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk, Pilatus Porter, and GAF Nomad.
In 1998, the Army Aviation Training Centre (AAvnTC) was formed at Oakey to command the School of Army Aviation (SAA), the Australian Defence Force Helicopter School later renamed the Army Helicopter School (AHS) and the RAEME Aircraft Maintenance School later renamed the Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance School (RAMS).
During 2005–06, the 1st Aviation Regiment moved its Headquarters, technical and logistic support squadrons and other elements to Robertson Barracks in Darwin. In 2006, a disbandment parade was held at Oakey for the last independent RAEME Workshop.
In 2007, Boeing Australia was announced the successful tenderer for the Army Aviation Training and Training Support (AATTS) contract and commenced providing pilot, aircrew and technician training for the Kiowa and Black Hawk helicopters and also operational fleet maintenance. In 2010, a new expanded contract was awarded to include most facets of military rotary wing flying training for Kiowa, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.
In 2009, 173rd Aviation Squadron, ceased operations at Oakey, with the transfer of the unit's Beechcraft King Air 350 to the RAAF. In 2010, with realignment of Army Chain of Command, the base units of the Army Aviation Training Centre came under the control and responsibility of Army Forces Command.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) units currently based at Oakey include:
- Army Aviation Training Centre (AAvnTC)
- No. 44 Wing Air Traffic Control Detachment
- 1MP Military Police (detachment, including dogs)
- Health Centre Oakey (Primary Health/Emergency Response/Crash Rescue/Aeromedical Evacuation)
Republic of Singapore units currently based at Oakey include:
- 126 Squadron (Super Puma)
The base currently utilises the following aircraft types:
- Bell OH-58 Kiowa
- Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk
- Eurocopter EC665 Tiger
- Eurocopter Super Puma (RSAF)
- Eurocopter MRH-90
Visiting types include:
- Various warbird types visit the airfield as part of the Army Aviation Museum Annual Fly-In.
The base facilities include accommodation for students attending courses and single members working on the base. Other facilities include tennis courts, squash courts, basketball and netball court, football ovals, heated 25 m (82 ft) indoor swimming pool, equipped gymnasium, defence banking and credit union branches, and a AAFCANS kiosk (with ATM), as well as messing facilities for Soldiers, SNCO, and Officers.
Australian Army Flying MuseumEdit
The Australian Army Flying Museum reopened in September 2005 in new buildings on land adjacent to the airport, after a grant was provided by the Australian Government. Distinguished guests included national and local dignitaries, including well known aviation identity Dick Smith. The purpose-built facility includes many historical aircraft tracing the history of the Aviation Corps in the Australian Army and back to the Australian Flying Corps during World War I. Featured types in the collection of aircraft include Bell 47, Bell OH-58 Kiowa, GAF Nomad, Pilatus PC-6 Porter, and Cessna 180. The museum also maintains a significant collection of artefacts dating from the inception of the Army Flying Corps and WWI to the present day.
The Australian Army Flying Museum is a sub-unit of the Army History Unit, a direct command unit of the Australian Army Headquarters.
Airlines, facilities and destinationsEdit
Whilst the airfield is military controlled and regulated, a small civil terminal has been maintained on the airfield for many years. The current terminal structure was built at the same time as the new buildings for the Army Flying Museum refurbishment in 2005, and shares the access road to this facility.
The airfield does not cater for Regular Public Transport (RPT) airline services, however it does provide an emergency alternative in the event of adverse weather.
Associated with military training at OAAC are two satellite site airfields. Located 22 kilometres north-west is Brymaroo. Further west is Wyoming airfield. Both fields are for military use only.
- PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 12 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine (
- "Oakey". Royal Australian Air Force. RAAF Museum. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "Army aviation in Australia, 1970–2015" (PDF). Australian Army Flying Museum. Australian Army. 24 February 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "History of Australian Army Aviation". Lt Colonel A Argent AAAvnC (Ret), Colonel R Harding AAAvnC (Ret), Brigadier Brian H Cooper AAAvnC (Ret), Brigadier Robert Walford. Digger History – Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Ashby-Cliffe, Cpl Jane (24 July 2008). "No place like home" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1194 ed). Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "Boeing Signs AU$44M Contract Expansion for Australian Army Rotary Wing Support". Boeing. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Hamilton, Eamon (10 December 2009). "Fixed Wings Freed" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper. Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. p. 6. ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- Australian Army Flying Museum (AAFM) Archived 27 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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