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March 31, 2011
By Dallas McMaugh
IT WAS a meeting of two venerable
Vietnam veterans when Keith Payne VC
visited HMAS Albatross recently and
flew in the Historic Flight Unit's (HFU)
Iroquois UH1B helicopter.
For Mr Payne, the nation's last
Imperial Victoria Cross recipient, it was
a very fond reunion. The thumping sound
Albatross hosts VC winner
"While the new
choppers are much
it's hard not to be in
love with the birds of
-- Keith Payne VC
of the Huey's rotor
blades is ingrained in
the psyche of many
who served in the
Vietnam War and
during the flight Mr
Payne removed his
headset for a moment
so he could fully
appreciate what he
described as "the won-
derful chop chop chop
of the blades".
"It took me straight back," he said.
"While the new choppers are much more
sophisticated, it's hard not to be in love
with the birds of our era."
The HFU Iroquois served Australia
from the early 1960s through to 2009 in
war, peace-keeping operations and disas-
ter relief across the world.
CMDR Stuart Harwood had piloting
duties for the day and said the reuniting
of two heroic veterans was equal parts
pleasure and pride.
"The Huey is the iconic aircraft
of the Vietnam War era and the RAN
Historic Flight aircraft is the last mili-
tary example flying in Australia," he
"Our ability to fly people such as
Mr Payne brings honour to those who
served and the Navy as a whole. By pro-
viding the flight for Mr Payne we were
able to honour one of Austalia's finest."
flight, Mr Payne had
lunch with members
of the Shoalhaven
ing members of RAN
Helo Flight Vietnam.
The flight was
Mr Payne's first in a
Huey since his ser-
vice in Vietnam and
said the VC recipient thoroughly
enjoyed the flight.
"He was smiling from ear to ear the
whole time," CMDR Harwood said.
"Had Mr Payne had his own way,
we would have been flying at tree top
height and making tactical approaches
at Albatross. Of course, in deference
the flight was far more sedate!"
By Michael Brooke
THE 'Big Bang' theory took a step for-
ward recently when the Mine Clearance
and Diving Group (MCDGRP) at
HMAS Waterhen received a new Infra-
sonic Advanced Acoustic Generator
(IAAG) designed to trigger the detona-
tion of warship-busting sea-mines.
The IAAG was built by Thales for
the US and presented to the MCDGRP
by the Defence Science and Technology
Organisation, which recently completed
a range of trials under the capability and
technology demonstrator program.
The OIC of the Mine Warfare
Deployable Systems Team, LCDR Kirk
Dawson, said the IAAG had the potential
to save RAN warships from sea-mines.
"The IAAG is used for acoustic influ-
ence mine-sweeping and, because it is
self-powered, can be fitted to any plat-
form capable of towing it," he said.
He said the IAAG was designed to
mimic the signature of warships larger
than 50,000 tonnes and complemented
the RAN's inventory of AAGs, which
were designed to mimic warships the
size of frigates.
The IAAG now gives the RAN the
capability to sweep sea-mines targeting
large commercial vessels such as tankers
or warships the size of amphibious trans-
ports and aircraft carriers.
LCDR Dawson said the IAAG would
be a regular "star performer" at exercises
such as Dugong, where the RAN could
learn more about its practical applica-
"The IAAG is cutting edge technol-
ogy which provides us with an additional
dimension in influence sweeping that we
didn't have before," he said.
Navy's big bang theory
MEMORIES OF 'NAM: Keith
Payne VC gets a ride over HMAS
Albatross in an Iroquois UH1B
helicopter. INSET: Mr Payne.
Main photo courtesy HMAS Albatross
Inset photo: LSIS Paul Berry
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