7 RAR Operationally Deployable Ahead of Schedule

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, and the Federal Member for Wakefield, Mr Nick Champion MP, today confirmed that the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR) has achieved its next major milestone in its growth to a full infantry battalion.

7 RAR was raised in Darwin in January 2007, as the first of two battalions to be raised under the Enhanced Land Force (ELF) initiative.

“7 RAR was scheduled to be ‘operationally deployable’ as a general infantry battalion working in a battle group by 2010,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The Battalion has recently deployed its first combat team on operations in Iraq as the Baghdad Security Detachment; and its headquarters and a second company to Afghanistan as part of the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force.

“This means 7 RAR is operationally deployable well before the directed timeframe of 2010.”

The battalion will relocate from Darwin to Adelaide in 2011 and continue to grow to a full mechanised battalion by 2013.

“7 RAR and its families will be a welcome addition to the community,” Mr Champion said.

“ELF will provide increased strategic depth and concurrency to the Australian Defence Force land forces, with two new battle groups created within the Army, along with appropriate joint enabling capabilities,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The second additional battalion – 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR) – was also raised in Brisbane in October 2007, and will be a motorised infantry battalion, using the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles.

“8/9 RAR currently remains on schedule to be ‘operationally deployable’ in 2010 and to be a full motorised battalion by 2011.”

Army command and control, combat support and combat service support elements are being enhanced as enabling capabilities to the battle groups.

Air Force will receive funding for an additional 700 C-130 Hercules flying hours, to support training and deployment of the additional battalions and enabling capabilities.

ELF will also fund numerous new facilities in Defence locations throughout Australia. news@mediacentre

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