Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2021
On 18 September 1999 an Australian naval task group consisting of the Australian frigates HMA Ships Adelaide and Anzac, the heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk, the landing craft HMA Ships Balikpapan, Brunei and Labuan, the supply ship HMAS Success, the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and the British frigate HMS Glasgow sailed from Darwin harbour. At dawn on 20 September Anzac and Success joined the frigate Darwin, already stationed off the coast of East Timor, to patrol the waters off the capital, Dili, and secure the harbour. Then at 7 a.m. five RAAF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft landed at Dili’s Komoro airfield carrying Australian and New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) troopers and the leading elements of Headquarters 3rd Brigade, who secured the airport and established contact with elements of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) to ensure their cooperation. A British Gurkha company was also among the early group of soldiers. So the first troops of the multinational force known as the International Force East Timor, or INTERFET, arrived in East Timor.