The Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Australian Navy came into existence with the commissioning of the Air Base at Nowra, NSW, HMAS Albabtross, on 31st August 1948. The FAA flew its first combat missions on 5th October 1951 in Korea, and has since been involved in Vietnam, the Gulf War conflicts, and United Nations peace-keeping duties. The Fleet Air Arm has also been prominent in coastal surveillance and civil disaster relief operations, with helicopters regularly assisting in flood relief, bushfire control and sea rescue operations. In 1998 the RAN operated Seahawk, Sea King, Squirrel and Kiowa helicopters from frigates, survey and supply ships. The jubilee of HMAS Albatross and the Fleet Air Arm was being celebrated with an international reunion at the Australian Naval Aviation Museum between 28th October and 2nd November 1998. . In 2000, following the removal from service of the land-based Hawker Siddeley HS 748 aircraft, the FAA became an all-helicopter force, operating in the anti-submarine warfare and maritime support roles. As of 2011, the FAA consists of three active squadrons, operating four helicopter types.
The stamp shows a Sea Hawk helicopter landing on a guided missile frigate. The cover photograph shows a Firefly aircraft on the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney being loaded before takeoff. Maria gave me this nice FDC.