After 737 flying hours and having moved in excess of 691,000 kilograms of supplies and equipment over the last eight months, Australia's Rotary Wing Group rotation is returning home for a well-earned break and mandatory maintenance on their aircraft.
The task group and their two CH-47 Chinooks will return to Afghanistan early in the new year to recommence flight operations in support of ISAF efforts – a deployment they have undertaken since rotations began in 2006.
The Chinooks are unable to fly during Afghanistan's harsh winter months.
The two Chinooks chalked up an impressive 860 sorties, transporting more than 4700 troops while assisting the efforts of the International Stabilisation Assistance Force (ISAF) on this current rotation.
Task Group Commander, Lieutenant Colonel David Lynch said the effort of the team was highly commendable.
“On just about all the missions we flew this year supporting our coalition partners; our crews were fulfilling the role of Air Mission Commander, taking the lead and providing direction to the other Coalition aircraft involved in the missions," he said.
A major contribution to the Rotary Wing Group's sustained high performance was the role played by the maintenance crews who were responsible for keeping the 'Chooks' in the air.
"A key mission requirement for the Task Group was to ensure that the CH-47's were mission ready whenever they were required," Lieutenant Colonel Lynch said.
"This year, we did not fail on a single occasion to provide support when we were assigned to a mission.
"This magnificent effort by the maintainers to keep our aircraft reliable and available throughout our deployment period has underpinned our success this year."
Maintenance crews have already stripped the Rotary Wing Groups double decker bus-sized helicopters and packed them into a pair of Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for the return trip to Australia.