GIANT birds of prey will hover the Territory’s skies as part of this year’s US Marines deployment in the Top End.
A number of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft are heading to Darwin to quickly deploy the 1250 marines who will soon be calling the city home for the next six months.
The Osprey aircraft take off and land like helicopters but can fly like planes.
While the US Marine deployment will have the same number of personnel as the previous, the new rotation will have superior aircraft numbers supporting it.
As well as the Ospreys there will be five AH-1W Super Cobras and four UH-1Y Venoms.
The officer in charge of the forward co-ordination for Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, Lt. Colonel Matthew Emborsky, said the Osprey’s speed and distances it could operate in made it perfect for the Territory outback.
Last year the marines were supported by just four Huey helicopters.
The Ospreys will be based at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin and will become a regular feature in our skies.
“Bradshaw Field Training Area, where our marines drill, is an eight-hour drive from Darwin … the Osprey can get there in an hour,” Lt. Colonel Emborsky said.