723 Squadron RAN

723 Squadron is a Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron. The squadron was first raised in 1952 and throughout its history has served operationally during the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and in East Timor. It currently operates as a helicopter training squadron and is based at HMAS Albatross at Nowra, New South Wales.

723 Squadron RAN
RAN-IFR 2013 D3 131
Royal Australian Navy Bell 429 of 723 Squadron
CountryAustralia Australia
Battle honoursVietnam 1967–1971
Kuwait 1991
East Timor 1999


723 Squadron was first commissioned into the RAN on 7 April 1952 and was equipped with one Dakota, one Wirraway, one Sea Otter and two Sea Fury aircraft.

On the 11th of March 1953 the Squadron took delivery of the RAN's first helicopter, a Bristol Sycamore. 723 Squadron also took delivery of the RAN's first jet aircraft, a de Havilland Vampire Mk T.34 on the 18th of June 1954.[1]

During the Vietnam War, personnel from the squadron operated as part of the Experimental Military Unit, a joint Australian-American helicopter assault and transport unit.[2] During the squadron's history, the battle honours "Vietnam 1967–71", "Kuwait 1991", and "East Timor 1999" have been earned.[3][4]

Current roles

723 is currently active as a helicopter training squadron equipped with 13 Aerospatiale AS 350BA Ecureuil (Squirrel) and three Bell 429 helicopters. The Squadron is based at HMAS Albatross (NAS Nowra). The Squirrels are used for conversion training all pilots, observers and aircrew from fixed wing to rotary wing aircraft. The Bell 429 joined the Squadron in 2012 on lease from Raytheon Australia and are used for multi engine training for pilots moving onto other aircraft such as the S-70B-2 Seahawk.


RAN squirrel helicopter at melb GP 08
A 723 Squadron Squirrel in 2008
A 723 Squadron Hawker Siddeley HS 748
A Bell Kiowa of 723 Squadron in 1998




  1. ^ http://www.navy.gov.au/history/squadron-histories/723-squadron-history
  2. ^ Australian Naval Aviation Museum (ANAM) (1998). Flying Stations: a story of Australian naval aviation. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. pp. 179–81. ISBN 1-86448-846-8. OCLC 39290180.
  3. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Raytheon Australia's Retention and Motivation Initiative Acceptance Activities Commence" (PDF). Media Release. Raytheon Australia. 31 January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012. Raytheon Australia today announced the beginning of acceptance activities of its first Bell 429 helicopters to be utilised under the Royal Australian Navy’s Retention and Motivation Initiative 2 (RMI 2) Program ...
  6. ^ Article from The Australian newspaper online, retrieved 2007-08-30.

External links

Auster Autocar

The Auster J/5 Autocar was a late 1940s British single-engined four-seat high-wing touring monoplane built by Auster Aircraft Limited at Rearsby, Leicestershire.

Auster J family

The Auster J series was a family of British light civil utility aircraft developed in the 1940s and 50s by Auster at Rearsby, Leicestershire.

Bell 429 GlobalRanger

The Bell 429 GlobalRanger is a light, twin-engine helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries, based on the Bell 427. First flight of the Bell 429 prototype took place on February 27, 2007, and the aircraft received type certification on July 1, 2009. The Bell 429 is capable of single-pilot IFR and Runway Category A operations.

Bristol Sycamore

The Bristol Type 171 Sycamore was an early helicopter developed and built by the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The name refers to the seeds of the Sycamore tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, which fall with a rotating motion. It has the distinction of being the first British helicopter to receive a certificate of airworthiness, as well as being the first British-designed helicopter to be introduced by and to serve with the Royal Air Force (RAF).Typically capable of seating up to three passengers, the type was often used as a transport for both passengers and cargo alike. In RAF service, the Sycamore was normally used in the search and rescue and casualty evacuation roles. The type proved the value of rotorcraft to easily traverse inhospitable or otherwise inaccessible terrain; the Sycamore made valuable contributions to British military activities during the Malayan Emergency, the Cyprus Emergency, and the Aden Emergency, in addition to other operations.

In addition to its British military service, various models of the Sycamore were produced and operated by a number of users, including overseas military operations and civil customers. Civilian operations typically involved transportation, mountain rescue, and aerial survey work. In 1959, production of the Sycamore ended after 180 rotorcraft had been completed.

CAC Wirraway

The CAC Wirraway (an Aboriginal word meaning "challenge") was a training and general purpose military aircraft manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) between 1939 and 1946. It was an Australian development of the North American NA-16 training aircraft. The Wirraway has been credited as being the foundation of Australian aircraft manufacturing.During the Second World War, both Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) deployed a number of Wirraways into combat roles, where they served in a makeshift light bomber/ground attack capacity, striking against the advancing forces of the Empire of Japan. While the type had been primarily used as a trainer and general purpose aircraft, being present in small quantities within the majority of front-line squadrons for these purposes; the aircraft was often pressed into combat when required. Typically, fighter versions of the Wirraway were operated over theatres such as New Guinea to perform ground attack missions and other Army co-operation tasks over extended periods until more advanced aircraft had become available in sufficient quantities. On 12 December 1942, the Wirraway achieved its only shoot-down of an enemy aircraft -- thought to be a Mitsubishi A6M Zero at the time, but later determined to be a Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa -- while flown by Pilot Officer John S. "Jack" Archer.

Following the end of the conflict, the Wirraway was operated for over a decade as a trainer by the RAAF, the newly formed RAN Fleet Air Arm, and the squadrons of the Citizen Air Force. During 1957, the last of the RAN's Wirraways was retired, having been replaced by the newer jet-powered de Havilland Vampire; as the CAC Winjeel came into squadron service, the RAAF phasing out its remaining fleet of Wirraways during the late 1950s. Officially, the last military flight to be performed by the type was conducted on 27 April 1959. Notably, the Wirraway had also functioned as the starting point for the design of a wartime "emergency fighter", which was also developed and manufactured by CAC, known as the Boomerang.

Experimental Military Unit

The Experimental Military Unit (EMU) was a joint Australian-American company-sized helicopter assault force which operated during the Vietnam War. The unit was created in 1967 following a request from the United States military for Australia to send more helicopter pilots to the conflict. As the only available personnel were from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Fleet Air Arm (with Australian Army and RAAF pilots already heavily committed), the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV) was formed and integrated into the 135th Assault Helicopter Company of the United States Army. The EMU unit name was selected by the Americans as a backronym for the Australian bird, a choice which amused the Australians: despite being large, fast, and highly mobile, the emu cannot fly.

The EMU flew multiple variants of the UH-1 Iroquois helicopter, and was primarily tasked with providing transport and support for units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), United States Army and Marine Corps, and Australian Army. A typical day's operations consisted of ten transports (supported by four gunships and a command unit) collecting a unit of soldiers, performing a combat assault, then returning the unit to base. Other operations included dawn and dusk assaults, night hunter-killer patrols, and supporting United States Navy SEAL units in the capture of senior Viet Cong personnel. Although the RAN contingent was significantly smaller than the rest of the unit, the Australian personnel frequently found themselves in senior positions, due to having more extensive training and experience than their American counterparts.

Initially operating out of Vung Tau, the EMU was relocated to the Xuân Lộc district at the end of 1967. In late 1968, the unit was moved to near Biên Hòa. In mid-1970, the EMU was tasked to operations into Cambodia, but as the rules of engagement for the Australians forbade them from operating outside Vietnam, the unit operated under-strength for several days until being retasked back to Vietnam operations. Later that year, the unit was relocated to Đồng Tâm. The RANHFV was withdrawn from Vietnam in 1971, ending the joint unit. The Australian contingent was the most heavily decorated RAN unit to serve in the Vietnam War, and the one with the highest casualty rate.

Fairey Firefly

The Fairey Firefly was a Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft principally operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was developed and built by the British aircraft manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company.

Development of the Firefly can be traced back to pair of specifications issued by the British Air Ministry in 1938, calling for new naval fighter designs. Designed to the contemporary FAA concept of a two-seat fleet reconnaissance/fighter, the pilot and navigator/weapons officer were positioned at separate stations. In flight, the Firefly was superior in terms of both performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fairey Fulmar. Due to a protracted development, the type only entered operational service towards the end of the conflict, at which point it was no longer competitive as a fighter. The limitations of a single engine in a relatively heavy airframe reduced its performance, but the Firefly proved to be fairly sturdy, long-ranged, and docile aircraft during carrier operations.

The Fairey Firefly served in the Second World War as a fleet fighter. During the post-war era, it was soon superseded in the fighter role by the arrival of more modern jet aircraft, thus the Firefly was adapted to perform in other roles, including strike operations and anti-submarine warfare. In these capacities, it remained a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s. Both British and Australian Fireflies routinely performed ground–attack operations from various aircraft carriers during the Korean War. In foreign service, the type was in operation with the naval air arms of Australia, Canada, India and the Netherlands. As late as 1962, Dutch Fireflies were used to carry out attack sorties against Indonesian infiltrators in Dutch New Guinea. Its final uses was found in various secondary roles, such as trainers, target tugs and drone aircraft.

Hawker Siddeley HS 748

The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 is a medium-sized turboprop airliner originally designed and initially produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Avro. It was the last aircraft to be developed by Avro prior to its dissolution.

The HS 748 was developed during the late 1950s as a move to re-orientate the company towards the civil and export markets. Powered by the popular Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine, it was specifically designed as a modern feederliner to act as a replacement for the aging Douglas DC-3s then in widespread service. Originally intended to seat a smaller number of passengers, market research indicated that a seating capacity of around 40 passengers would be optimal for the type. As a means to differentiate the new airliner from competitors, it was designed to possess a high level of performance, including its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities and overall ruggedness. First flying on 24 June 1960, the series 1 HS 748 entered revenue service during the following year.

Once in service, the HS 748 found itself a niche within the short-haul market. Several different models would be developed of the regional airliner, typical improvements being the adoption of increasingly powerful Dart engines and a higher gross weight. Perhaps the most distinct variant was the HS 780 Andover, a dedicated military transport model developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) that featured a large rear loading ramp and a squatting main landing gear to assist in loading bulky freight items. By 1988, the year in which production of the type was terminated, 380 aircraft had been produced between Hawker Siddeley (the owning company of Avro) and Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). During the 1990s, a larger, stretched development of the HS 748, the BAe ATP, was developed and had attempted to compete with market leaders such as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 and ATR 42, but saw only limited sales prior to production being terminated.

List of Australian Fleet Air Arm flying squadrons

This is a list of Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm flying squadrons. The Fleet Air Arm was founded in 1947. Since then the Royal Australian Navy has formed a number of squadrons which have operated a range of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from aircraft carriers, other warships, and shore establishments.

List of Bell UH-1 Iroquois operators

This page is a list of countries which have used or are current users of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois or are military users of the Bell 204 and 205, along with their military units.

List of Fleet Air Arm aircraft squadrons

This is a list of Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

List of aircraft of the Royal Australian Navy

This is a list of aircraft of the Royal Australian Navy.

List of de Havilland Vampire operators

List of operators of the de Havilland Vampire:

AustriaÖsterreichische Luftstreitkräfte AustraliaRoyal Australian Air Force

No. 21 Squadron RAAF

No. 22 Squadron RAAF

No. 23 Squadron RAAF

No. 25 Squadron RAAF

No. 75 Squadron RAAF

No. 76 Squadron RAAF

No. 1 Advanced Flying Training School RAAF

No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAF

No. 5 Operational Training Unit RAAF

Central Flying School RAAF

Fleet Air Arm

723 Squadron RAN

724 Squadron RAN BurmaBurmese Air Force 1954-1978, 8 x T.55s CanadaRoyal Canadian Air Force

No. 421 Squadron RCAF CeylonRoyal Ceylon Air Force 1954, 3 x T.55s delivered but not used and returned to de Havilland still crated, order for further T.55s and FB.52s cancelled. ChileFuerza Aérea de Chile Congo Dominican RepublicFuerza Aérea de Republica Dominicana operated 25 ex-Swedish F.1s and 17 ex-Swedish FB.50s. EgyptEgyptian Air Force FinlandSuomen Ilmavoimat FranceArmee de l'Air

Aeronavale IndiaIndian Air Force

Indian Naval Air Arm IndonesiaTentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Udara operated six T.11s. IraqIraqi Air Force IrelandIrish Air Corps ItalyItalian Air Force operated 268 Vampire from 1949 until 1960 JapanJapan Air Self-Defense Force received one Vampire T.55 trainer for evaluation in 1955. JordanRoyal Jordanian Air Force KatangaKatangese Air Force operated two ex-Portuguese T.11s. LebanonLebanese Air Force MexicoFuerza Aérea Mexicana retired their Vampires in 1970. New ZealandRoyal New Zealand Air Force

No. 14 Squadron RNZAF

No. 75 Squadron RNZAF NorwayRoyal Norwegian Air Force

No. 336 Squadron RNoAF

No. 337 Squadron RNoAF

No. 339 Squadron RNoAF

Jet Training Wing PortugalForça Aérea Portuguesa Two T. 55 trainers. RhodesiaRhodesian Air Force / Royal Rhodesian Air Force Saudi ArabiaRoyal Saudi Air Force - 15 former Egyptian FB.52s delivered in 1957 and withdrawn in 1958.

No. 5 Squadron South AfricaSouth African Air Force SwedenFlygvapnet operated 70 F.1 (designated J 28A); 310 FB.50 (J 28B) and 57 T.55 (J 28C) aircraft. SwitzerlandSchweizerische Flugwaffe Kommando der Flieger und Fliegerabwehrtruppen (Flugwaffe) SyriaSyrian Air Force United KingdomRoyal Air Force

No. 3 Squadron RAF F.1

No. 4 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 5 Squadron RAF F.3, FB.5

No. 6 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 8 Squadron RAF FB.9

No. 11 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 14 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 16 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 20 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5, FB.9

No. 23 Squadron RAF NF.10

No. 25 Squadron RAF NF.10

No. 26 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 28 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 32 Squadron RAF F.3, FB.5, FB.9

No. 45 Squadron RAF FB.9

No. 54 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5

No. 60 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 67 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 71 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 72 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5

No. 73 Squadron RAF F.3. FB.5, FB.9

No. 93 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 94 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 98 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 112 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 118 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 130 Squadron RAF F.1

No. 145 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 151 Squadron RAF NF.10

No. 185 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 213 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 234 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 247 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5

No. 249 Squadron RAF FB.5, FB.9

No. 266 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 501 Squadron RAF F.1, FB.5, FB.9

No. 502 Squadron RAF F.3, FB.5, FB.9

No. 595 Squadron RAF F.1

No. 601 Squadron RAF F.3

No. 602 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 603 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 604 Squadron RAF F.3

No. 605 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5

No. 607 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 608 Squadron RAF F.1, F.3, FB.5, FB.9

No. 609 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 612 Squadron RAF FB.5

No. 613 Squadron RAF F.1, FB.5, FB.9

No. 614 Squadron RAF F.3, FB.5, FB.9

No. 631 Squadron RAF F.1

No. 202 Advanced Flying School RAF

No. 203 Advanced Flying School RAF

No. 206 Advanced Flying School RAF

No. 208 Advanced Flying School RAF

No. 210 Advanced Flying School RAF

No. 226 Operational Conversion Unit RAF

No. 229 Operational Conversion Unit RAF

No. 233 Operational Conversion Unit RAF

No. 1 Flying Training School RAF

No. 3 Flying Training School RAF

No. 4 Flying Training School RAF

No. 5 Flying Training School RAF

No. 7 Flying Training School RAF

No. 8 Flying Training School RAF

No. 9 Flying Training School RAF

No. 10 Flying Training School RAF

No. 11 Flying Training School RAF

No. 102 Flying Refresher School RAF

No. 103 Flying Refresher School RAF

Central Flying School

Royal Air Force College

Central Air Traffic Control School

Central Navigation and Control School

Fleet Air Arm VenezuelaFuerza Aérea Venezolana ZimbabweZimbabwe Air Force

Supermarine Sea Otter

The Supermarine Sea Otter was a British amphibious aircraft designed and built by Supermarine; it was a longer-range development of the Walrus and was the last biplane flying boat to be designed by Supermarine; it was also the last biplane to enter service with the Royal Navy and the RAF.

Taylorcraft Auster

The Taylorcraft Auster was a British military liaison and observation aircraft produced by the Taylorcraft Aeroplanes (England) Limited company during the Second World War.

Westland Wessex

The Westland Wessex was a British-built turbine-powered development of the Sikorsky H-34. It was developed and produced under licence by Westland Aircraft (later Westland Helicopters). One of the main changes from Sikorsky's H-34 was the replacement of the piston-engine powerplant with a turboshaft engine. Early models were powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine, while later builds used a pair of de Havilland Gnome engines.

The Wessex was initially produced for the Royal Navy (RN) and later for the Royal Air Force (RAF); a limited number of civilian aircraft were also produced, as well as some export sales. The Wessex operated as an anti-submarine warfare and utility helicopter; it is perhaps best recognised for its use as a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter. The type entered operational service in 1961, and had a service life in excess of 40 years before being retired in Britain.

Naval Ensign of Australia.svg Royal Australian Navy flying units
Active units
Disbanded units

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