Air Security Officers (ASO) are armed Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers responsible for the containment or resolution of high-risk security incidents on domestic and international flights.
These specially trained AFP officers provide an intelligence-led deterrence and containment capability on selected Australian domestic and international flights to safeguard Australian registered aircraft against in-flight attack. ASOs travel on selected Australian domestic and international flights to maintain an armed in-flight response and resolution capacity in the event of an attack.
ASOs blend in with other passengers and could be on any flight. They are deployed in response to current threat assessments and as part of the AFP's ongoing deterrence strategy.
Officers are trained and equipped to provide security against threat of hijack, deal with any attempt by terrorists or other criminals to take control of an aircraft.
ASOs are extensively trained in many disciplines including negotiation, defensive tactics, specialist firearm handling and small team techniques.
The AFP's ASO Program maintains close ties with its foreign counterparts and the airline industry and meets international best practice.
The ASO Program is part of the federal government's aviation security enhancement initiative.
ASOs began operating on Australian domestic flights in December 2001 and expanded to include international flights in December 2003.
- The program complements the AFP's policing presence at the 10 major Australian airports. The AFP presence at major airports enables a comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing criminality and terrorist threats in the aviation sector.