The 171st Aviation Squadron was formed in 1971 as a command and liaison squadron. The Squadron later formed part of the Australian 1st Aviation Regiment where it was equipped with UH-1 Iroquois helicopters and flew in the operational support role. In late 2004 the Squadron swapped designations with A Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment and became an independent unit.
On 29 November 2006 a 171st Aviation Squadron Blackhawk helicopter crashed during a training exercise with HMAS Kanimbla off the coast of Fiji. The helicopter's pilot, Captain Mark Bingley, and Trooper Joshua Porter from the Australian Special Air Service Regiment were killed in the crash.