|RAAF Base Cocos Islands|
Crest of RAAF Base Cocos Islands
|Part of||Australian Defence Force|
|Command||Joint Operations Command - Regional Theatre|
|Sub Command||Air Component Command -Regional Theatre|
|Part of||4th Expeditionary Air & Space Force, RAAF|
|Permanently Attached Unit|
|Forward Operating Base Management Flight - Cocos|
|Aircraft flown from base|
|Maritime Patrol||P-8J, P-9BPC|
RAAF Base Cocos IslandsEdit
The Cocos Islands are a small cluster of atolls and islands in the Indian Ocean that are an external territory of Australia. The RAAF maintains a small forward operating base here that is jointly utilised by RAAF, RAN, USAF and USN aircraft. The single runway was extended and several buildings were added during the 2020 restructuring of the ADF to accomodate the upgraded role of the Cocos Islands airstrip as a strategic asset in the Indian Ocean. No aircraft arew permanently based there, and the permanent staff is relatively small.
Due to the strategic location in the central Indian Ocean, the air base facilities serve as a forward operating base for both manned and unmanned aircraft. In particular the base serves as a forward staging post for Operation Gateway, the ongoing operation in the Indian Ocean through to the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea. Operation Gateway serves as the Joint Operational Command - Regional Theatre's overall umbrella operation for ongoing maritime surveillance, counter piracy and anti-terrorist activities involving all branches of the Australian Defence Force.
Command and ControlEdit
The air base falls under operational control of Joint Operations Command - Regional Theatre, specifically the Air Component Command of JOC-RT, the 4th Air and Space Expeditionary Force of the RAAF.
There are no permanent units based on the Cocos Islands except for the Forward Operations Base Management Flight - Cocos. The Base Management Flight includes small sections to handle security, air traffic control, air operations, ground services and other similar front line base basic services.
Both RAN and USN P-8 Maritime Surveillance aircraft regularly operate out of the base. There is generally one USN and one RAN P-8 staging through RAAF Base Cocos Islands at any one time.
Both the RAAF and USAF operate RQ-4J unmanned aerial vehicles from the base on a regular rotation as well.
Several other aircraft types, both manned and unmanned also stage through the base on a regular basis.
The Customs and Border Protection P-9 aircraft based on nearby Christmas Island also often use the facilities at the Cocos base.
A single UH-9Z utility helicopter is permanently attached to the base flight for general flight duties.
The RAAF operate several watercraft from RAAF Base Cocos Islands. Primarily a 25m Patrol Utility Launch (P2021) which is used in SAR, resupply and geneal utility roles. Additionally two 11m RIB vessels are also operated from the base for local security and utility duties.
There is a pemanent USAF and USN liason staff at the base numbering around 5 staff. The US utilises the strategic location of the base for surveillance operations in the region, the same way the ADF does.