Defence has completed its contribution to Papua New Guinea’s 2017 National Elections.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldier Corporal Rob Johnson, from the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville, waves to locals after conducting a community-engagement task during Operation Hannah in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims.
Deployed under the banner Operation Hannah, the Australian Task Group was part of the broader Australian government support provided in response to an official Papua New Guinea government request.
The deployment included some 200 Australian Defence Force personnel and a range of aviation assets including Australian Army MRH90 helicopters and Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, C-27J Spartan and B300 King Air utility aircraft tactical transport aircraft.
Australia’s Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said the ADF support provided the extra airlift needed to help Papua New Guinea conduct the election.
“The steep terrain and island nature of Papua New Guinea means airlift was essential in the dissemination of voting materials and personnel,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.
“During the course of Hannah we delivered nearly 200,000 pounds of election materials and assisted with the movement of approximately 800 election and security personnel around the country.”
Vice Admiral Johnston said the cooperative effort between the two countries had other benefits beyond providing support to the elections.
“The deployment was valuable in deepening our strong relationship with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
“The opportunity was taken to provide air mobility familiarisation training to Papuan soldiers, allowing them to become familiar with our methods and capabilities.
“Also, members of their Air Wing were able to work with our aircraft and crews, broadening their understanding of the ADF’s new generation of aircraft and learning how we can best operate together.
“Finally, Hannah practiced our ability to move assets and integrate with our regional partners to assist if events such as natural disasters occur.”
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