Wessex – Bursa Timeline

The following table provides a complete record of the major events of Operation Bursa from its conception in 1980 to its eventual handover at the end of 1989.Β 

Start EventRemarks
28-Jun-80BSORS PatrolsCommenced with Attack and Fremantle class patrol boats.
01-Aug-80COSC MinutesPM directed use of helicopters in support Op BURSA to be effective from 30 Sep 80.
25-Aug-80CN Op BURSA signalNavy allocated CT helo support task. HC 723 UAE 10 x Wessex. Priority role was insertion of TAG. Dedicated to operation on continuing basis.
01-Aug-80MHQ signalNavy and Air Force to provide helo support to TAG on fortnightly rotational basis.4 hr standby to move to have acft ready to deploy with TAG from East Sale 10 hrs fm alert.Outline night tactic requiring surprise and speed of action; low-level, high speed approaches with quick-stop terminations without illumination until final stages of assault.
22-Sep-80723 Sqn survey East SaleBattese/Mayo visit to reach local agreement accommodate 10 Wessex, aircrew & maintainers.
27-Oct-80723 Sqn East Sale[until 01Nov80]. First approaches to oil-rig Snapper. Fly-off 9 Sqn UH-1H vs 723 Sqn Wessex.
08-Dec-80723 Sqn East Sale[until 12Dec80]. Training with TAG – first night approaches.
05-Mar-81VC751 NAS NowraTracker used to illuminate HMAS Derwent
27-Jan-81723 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 28Jan81]. NVG trial – not successful due non-compatible cockpit
08-Apr-81723 Sqn East Sale[until 14Apr81]. Day tactical approaches to rigs with TAG.
26-May-81723 Sqn NAS NowraTrialed beta lights on rotors for night formation - failed.
Mid81CDS signalNavy to assume CT helicopter support role on full time basis from 15 Oct 81.5 x Wessex required online at East Sale.12 hrs notice to move from NAS but may be shortened if specific threat develops. Army to provide a C2 aircraft. Air Force to provide helo capability if Navy cannot meet requirement.Navy will provide SAR and admin support if Wessex deployed
08-Oct-81723 Sqn East Sale[until 16Oct81]. Approaches to Rigs
13-Apr-82723 Sqn East Sale[until 22Apr82]. Full exercise with TAG.
Oct-Dec82723 Sqn NAS Nowra2 x Tac App exercises with HMAS Parramatta
28-Nov-82723 Sqn East Sale[until 11Dec82] Full exercise with TAG – 8 x Wx; departure exercised recall procedures. Exercised Nightsun illumination unlit rigs with live rappelling. 13 Wx UAE
24-Jan-83723 Sqn Laverton/ Watsonia[until 26Jan83]. Single aircraft deployment investigating alternate CT basing destinations.
03-Feb-83723 Sqn East Sale[until 21Feb83]. Full exercise with TAG. – 10 x Wx ; 522.2hrs/108hrs NF.
11-Apr-83723 Sqn East Sale[until 21Apr83]. Full exercise with TAG – 9 x Wx - Nightsun illumination incorporated in SOPs.
14-Jun-83723 Sqn East Sale[until 24Jun83]. Full exercise with TAG – 10 x Wx.
13-Aug-83723 Sqn East Sale[until 18Aug83]. Full exercise with TAG – 9 x Wx – witnessed by Fleet Commander Hudson.
11-Oct-83723 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 13Oct83]. Exercised with TAG.
19-Nov-83723 Sqn NAS Nowra21st Birthday RAN Wx – 14 x Wx, 3 x UH-1B, 1 x B206 Flypast.
28-Nov-83723 Sqn East Sale[until 04Dec83] Exercise with TAG – 10 x Wx – exercise suspended 4 Dec due fatal crash N7-215.
04-Dec-83Crash N7-215Catastrophic failure and ditching with 2 x fatalities (LSA Macey and RAAF CPL Campbell); aircraft captain LEUT Mark Henschke commended.
09-Feb-84HU 816 CommissionedAssumed CT role from 723 Sqn A Flight.
30-Apr-84816 Sqn East Sale[until 11May84] Full exercise with TAG.
05-Jul-84816 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 26Jul84]. Full exercise with TAG.
26-Oct-84816 Sqn Point Cook[until 29Oct84]. Deployment exercise.
15-Nov-84816 Sqn NAS Nowa[until 21Nov84]. Skills maintenance with SASR.
22-Nov-84816 Sqn NAS NowraExercise Call-out.
05-Feb-85816 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 15Feb]. Full exercise with TAG including insertions to HMAS Tobruk – one TAG injured. NAS ROP state exercises with TAG including to Tobruk 11-16 Feb)
Apr-Jun85816 SqnConcerns relating to National Task skills retention without access to β€œin-area training”.
28-May-85816 Sqn NAS NowraNight SAR/recovery trials with SASR waterborne TAG.
01-May-85817 Sqn East SaleRecce East Sale in preparation for assuming role
09-Sep-85816 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 19Sep85]. Full exercise with TAG including insertions HMAS Tobruk. NAS ROP has TAG exercising 16-20 Sep)
29-Nov-85816 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 02Dec85] TAG insertions HMAS Adelaide and skills maintenance NAS. (NAS ROP stated FFG07 a better platform for Nat Task training than Tobruk or Jervis Bay)
21-Apr-86816 Sqn Edinburgh[until 01May] Exercised deployment capability for CT
01-May-86816 Sqn East Sale[until 24May86]. Full exercise with TAG – first Bass Strait exercise for 2 years. (NAS ROP has CT exercise 10-24 May – Exercise Swallow Dive 1/86)
01-Jul-86816 Sqn NAS Nowra[until 30Jun86] SASR CT skills support – Exercise Jupiter.
01-Jul-86817 Stalwart FlightRecce RANKIN rig WA with SAS
11-Aug-86816 Sqn East Sale[until 22Aug86]. Full exercise with TAG – Exercise Rubber Duck 3/86. (NAS ROP has exercise from 11-23 Aug)
26-Nov-86816+817 Sqns East Sale[until 03Dec86]. Full exercise with TAG – Exercise Red Fin.
01-Feb-87817 Sqn East SaleOp Bursa workup
01-Apr-87817 Sqn East Sale[until 10Apr87]. Full exercise with TAG – 4 x SK – Exercise Swallow Dive.
30-Jun-87HU 816 DecommissionedCT role transferred to HS 817 Sqn Sea King Mk 50/50A. 5 x Wx and 43 personnel transfer to 723 Sqn for utility duties including embarked ops.
25-Nov-87817 Sqn East Sale[until 02Dec87]. Full exercise with TAG – 4 x SK – Exercise Swallow Dive – final assault not achieved due weather.
10-May-88817 Sqn East Sale[until 19May88]. Full exercise with TAG – (4?) x SK – Exercise Swallow Dive.
24-Nov-88817 Sqn East Sale[until 08Dec88]. Full exercise with TAG – (4) x SK – Exercise Red Fin.
05-14Apr 89817 Sqn East SaleFull exercise with CDT4 & TAG – (4) x SK – Exercise Swallow Dive.
27Nov 89-?817 Sqn East SaleFull exercise with TAG – (2) x SK – Exercise (Red Fin).
Early Dec 89817 Sqn East SaleTwo aircraft began the month at RAAF EAST SALE in support of Exercise SWALLOW DIVE. Owing to the reduced number of aircraft required flight hours were not achieved and the aims of the exercise only partially achieved. The attachment returned to NAS NOWRA on Saturday 9.
01-Dec-89CT role transferred fm HS 817 Sqn

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