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Matthew Basedow - Cobar

A FORMER Cobar lad and Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Matthew Basedow is providing an eye in the sky for Coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Matthew works as a payload operator whose main job is controlling the camera on the Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft that flies out of Kandahar Airfield.

The Royal Australian Air Force Heron’s provide high resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the International Security Assistance Force in southern Afghanistan.

"We're providing battle-space information to guys on the ground so they’ve got an awareness of what's going on around them," he said. "If they're taking fire from an enemy you can relay to them where that's coming from.

"But that's not every day, you'll first build up a 'pattern of life' picture in an area then you'll have 'action-day' where ground forces will come through and patrol an area.

"That's the culmination of your work over the course of a few weeks."

Matthew finished Cobar High School 1990 and joined the Air Force four years later after a stint at uni.

"I always had an interest in aircraft," he said. "I started studying education but my passion was the Air Force and aircraft so I never finished that degree because I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do."

Normally an air combat officer in the Air Force, Matthew is on his fifth deployment overseas.

Unfortunately he leaves behind wife Kylie and six kids at home in Adelaide.

"They hate that I'm away so much but I'm pretty passionate about what I do," Matthew said. "I think my wife knows that so she supports me and I give her good presents when I get home."

Matthew is due to finish his four month deployment in December.

"Having worked with our land based forces this is where I want to be, I think I'm really value-adding."

The Australian Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft provides high resolution Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance information to support personnel on the ground throughout ISAF Regional Command - South.

Personnel deployed with the Herons are drawn from Air Force, Army and Navy and is scheduled to be the final rotation of the highly successful platform for Australia's Operation Slipper in Afghanistan. All personnel are set to return home at the end of 2014.