• Credit:  Defence
    Credit: Defence

The Australian Air Task Group E-7A Wedgetail aircraft has achieved a record 100 per cent mission success rate in Coalition operations against Daesh in the Middle East. The record is attributed to the current rotation, Rotation 5, of aircrew and maintenance personnel that operated the aircraft over the last four months.

Commander of the Air Task Group, Air Commodore Antony Martin, said that the men and women of the E-7A detachment should all be immensely proud of their efforts.

“The take-away for Rotation 5 is that their role and that of the E-7A Wedgetail in facilitating combat airpower capability in the Middle East is first class,” Air Commodore Martin said.

Rotation 5 Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader David, explained that the record was the first time that an E-7A Rotation in the Middle East had successfully conducted every single mission they were assigned over the period of their deployment – in this case all 36 missions.

“While 36 missions may not sound like a lot, when you consider that each mission lasts upwards of 12 hours, and we only have one aircraft, that’s nearly 500 hours of flying and a lot of maintenance,” Squadron Leader David.

“The Wedgetail is a very technically advanced and complicated aircraft, so under normal circumstances we expect to have to cancel the occasional mission due to a maintenance requirement or perhaps crewing issue.

“While luck might play a small role, it’s above all a credit to the Rotation 5 maintenance team that has dedicated themselves to making sure the aircraft is always ready, and that they are prepared for all practical contingencies.”

Senior Engineering Officer and head of Rotation 5 maintenance, Flight Sergeant Barry Damsma, said that he was really proud of his workforce for achieving the record.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen it achieved in 23 years and I’ve worked on a number of different aircraft,” Flight Sergeant Damsma said.

Flight Sergeant Damsma attributed the team’s success to three key factors: logistics arrangements, maintenance practices, and personnel management.

“We’ve been pro-active, rather than re-active; looking forward into the future,” said Flight Sergeant Damsma. “From a logistics point of view, we’ve focused on establishing a more long-term supply of spares and more solid supply chain management.”

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