The main body of Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation Kimba has touched down in Papua New Guinea to provide support for the country’s upcoming national election, at the request of the PNG Government.
CAPTION: Aircraftman Sam Schmidt, from the No. 382 Squadron, marshals a C-130J from RAAF Base Richmond at the Air Movements Wing – Port Moresby. Story by Major Martin Hadley. Photo by Corporal Jonathan Geodhart.
The joint task group members arrived at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby on a RAAF C-17A Globemaster.
Commander of the joint task group responsible for Operation Kimba Wing Commander Michael Rouhan said 130 ADF personnel would work closely with the PNG Electoral Commission, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, and Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
“Our personnel are providing specialist planning, logistics and air transport support to PNG authorities to assist with their national election,” Wing Commander Rouhan said.
“This mission is enabled by the niche capabilities of the ADF, particularly the Royal Australian Air Force’s C-27J Spartan and C-130J Hercules aircraft.
“These aircraft will support the transport of election material and personnel before, during and post the election period.”
CAPTION: RAAF aviator from 23 Squadron marshals a C-27J Spartan during landing at the Air Transport Wing – Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, as part of Operation Kimba. Photo by Corporal Jonathan Geodhart.
This is the second ADF deployment by Wing Commander Rouhan in support of PNG’s national elections. He was part of the ADF’s support to the PNG national election in 2012.
“I’m excited to be in PNG once again among the smiling faces of the locals and to support their country’s democratic process,” Wing Commander Rouhan said.
“I’m certain our people have the right training, capability and attitude to make a significant contribution over the coming weeks.
“The team are very excited to be here helping.”
The ADF’s support is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs-led whole-of-government assistance to the national elections, which is an extension of the ADF’s long-standing partnership with the PNG Defence Force, through the ADF’s Defence Cooperation Program.