Navy presents seized AK-47s to Australian War Memorial

Two AK-47s seized by the Royal Australian Navy during Operation MANITOU were presented to the Australian War Memorial to maintain the historic record of Defence’s contributions in the Middle East.

The weapons were intercepted by HMAS Darwin off the coast of Oman in March 2016, when she was conducting counter-terrorism and maritime security operations as part of the British-led Combined Task Force 150.

Commanding Officer Darwin Commander Phillip Henry said he was proud to be able to highlight the often unseen work of the Navy.

“HMAS Darwin had a highly successful deployment to the Middle East in 2016. As well as intercepting almost a tonne of heroin, we seized a large cache of weapons which removes funding streams for terrorist organisations,” he said.

“Bringing these weapons to the Australian War Memorial helps show the Australian public what Navy does over the horizon.”

“These weapons are a tangible example of the positive effect Navy is having in the Middle East, countering terrorism and bringing stability to the region.”

Head of the Memorial’s Military Heraldry and Technology Section, Mr Nick Fletcher, said that the weapons will augment the Memorial’s evolving collection of artefacts relating to contemporary conflicts.

“These donations will increase our ability to interpret the Royal Australian Navy’s continuing commitment in the Middle East and Australia’s longstanding contribution to maintaining navigable sea lanes in the area.”

As HMAS Darwin prepares for another operational deployment, Commander Henry also provided the Memorial with an oral history about the seizures that occurred under his command.

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