Ground crew aircraft support (GCAS) soldiers provided vital functions for helicopters on Exercise Griffin Guns.
CAPTION: Corporal Callum Hite supervises the preparation of a Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter for live-fire practise during Exercise Griffin Guns at Mount Bundey training area, south of Darwin. Story by Captain Carolyn Barnett. Photo by Lance Corporal Mitchell Creek.
GCAS are involved in the provision of aircraft fuelling, arming and ground support services necessary for the preparation and continued support of Army aviation aircraft operations.
The exercise, held recently in the Northern Territory, enabled the 1st Aviation Regiment to develop gunnery proficiency in weapon system employment.
During the activity, Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters departed from Robertson Barracks, RAAF Base Darwin, to upload live ordnance from a forward arming refuel point at Mount Bundy training area.
Corporal Callum Hite said he was glad for the opportunity to enhance GCAS small team skills.
“My team gets tested and authorised in essential qualifications,” he said.
“Some of the proficiencies include loader operator, team leader and forward arming and reconnaissance supervisor.
“For some of the crews, it is the first time they have come together as a team for both ground and aircrews.”
The ground crews prepared and loaded a variety of explosive ordnance, including 30mm ammunition, 70mm rockets and Hellfire missiles for daily live-fire missions.
Corporal Hite said the aim of the exercise was to develop key skills to enable aircraft missions.
“The team practised how to prepare, load, unload and make safe Army aircraft ordnance,” he said.
“We were further tested by maintaining the operation and maintenance of day and night landing aid equipment to enable live-firing missions.”
Corporal Hite said working with sophisticated helicopters was not without some challenges.
“The Northern Territory is a demanding working environment,” he said.
“A sense of humour helps keep up morale.”