Yesterday, the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., attended a reception in the Australian Embassy, St Stephens Green to mark the commencement of a training relationship between the Royal Australian Air Force and Irish Air Corps.
Lieutenant Dave Finnegan and Lieutenant Joe Ward will spend 18 months with the RAAF as part of an accelerated training programme.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) underpinning the decision was signed at the Australian Embassy in Dublin in the presence of Minister Kehoe, Australian Ambassador to Ireland Richard Andrews and senior military personnel.
Speaking at the Reception, Minister Kehoe said ‘This is a unique occasion. For the first time Irish Air Corps Flying Officers will be trained by and fly with the Royal Australian Air Force’.
Minister Kehoe highlighted the mutually beneficial aspects of this innovative engagement by saying ‘The Royal Australian Air Force will benefit from two highly trained Flying Officers for the period of the programme. On conclusion of the programme, the benefits to the Irish Air Corps will be twofold. The experience gained by the pilots will have shortened the timeline for them to reach Aircraft Commander status on their return home. What’s more, they will be in a position to pass on their newly acquired knowledge and experience to other Air Corps Officers, ensuring that the effects of this programme will be felt long after its conclusion.’
The Minister paid tribute to all involved in bringing this project to a successful conclusion ‘be they military or civilian, Australian or Irish’. He wished the two pilots well in this new venture before expressing confidence that they would ‘represent the Air Corps and indeed your country to the highest standards’.
Note to Editor
Government Approval was granted for the dispatch of two Air Corps pilots to undertake training with the Royal Australian Air Force.
The 2 Air Corps pilots will undertake training in Australia flying fixed wing twin-engine aircraft followed by a post course experiential training consolidation period which will provide experiential training and flying experience
The accrued knowledge and experience these pilots will gain from this training placement with the RAAF will be disseminated into the next generation of Air Corps pilots.