RAAF Orions celebrate nine years in Middle East

Singapore
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Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion aircraft have reached nine years of continuous operations in the Middle East.

The two-aircraft Orion detachment marked the anniversary with an anti-piracy patrol over the Red Sea, said Australia's Department of Defence. Two personnel on the flight were aboard the RAAF's first Orion flight in the region in 2003.

"The entire Task Unit always puts in their best effort to ensure we achieve an extremely high mission success rate and keep operations here safe and effective," said the detachment's commander, squadron leader Jesse Laroche.

"To be able to do that day in and day out successfully for nine years is incredibly professionally rewarding," he added.

In August 2011, the RAAF Orions hit 20,000 hours of operational missions in the Middle Eastern theatre. The detachment's area of operations includes Afghanistan, as well as the Horn of Africa. The two aircraft are deployed at the Al Minhad air base in the United Arab Emirates, but are normally based at Edinburgh in South Australia.