The Australian War Memorial has revealed the first glimpse of its new galleries, with an Australian Chinook revealed as one of the new items visitors will see. Newly appointed Chair of the Memorial, Kim Beazley, described the heavy-lift helicopter as “an essential asset to the international community’s efforts to create security in Afghanistan”.
CH-47D Chinook A15-202 was one of the first two Australian Chinooks deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. After completing three more rotations to Afghanistan, it was damaged during a Special Forces operation in 2009. “The story of this Chinook is central to our new galleries and the stories of our modern veterans,” Beazley said. “This aircraft is a tribute to all those who flew and maintained Australian Chinooks in Afghanistan.”
Between 2006 and 2013, eight Australian Army Chinooks and hundreds of personnel – men and women – served in Afghanistan over 11 rotations. Each aircraft served on multiple deployments.
The Memorial’s head of Military History Dr Karl James, said, “We have spoken to over 100 Chinook Afghanistan veterans during the course of developing this centrepiece exhibition for our new galleries. Chinooks had a crew of five. In Afghanistan, each Australian Chinook could carry around 22 people as passengers or lift 12,000 kgs of cargo. This was the equivalent of carrying a group of fully armed Special Forces operators or a Special Forces vehicle in the interior cargo bay. A Chinook could alternatively carry a shipping container full of supplies and equipment or even a Black Hawk helicopter slung underneath.”
The Chinook served with the 5th Aviation Regiment’s C Squadron from 2000 to 2016 and was based in Townsville, Queensland. On its retirement from the Army, it became a part of the Memorial’s collection after a final flight from Townsville to Canberra.
Beazley said, “The Memorial has uncovered in depth personal stories around this aircraft, aircrew, ground staff and their families. We are looking forward to visitors accessing this new experience.”
The Chinook will feature in the Australian War Memorial’s new Anzac Hall, which is scheduled to open in late 2025, where it will join a number of Large Technology Objects including the much-loved G for George Lancaster Bomber.