One of the Australian Navy’s newest aviation teams took out the honours for the coveted Collins Trophy recently with the 2016 ‘most proficient’ embarked helicopter flight going to some of those flying and maintaining the Seahawk Romeo.
MH-60R Flight 2 was awarded the title following the high tempo of flying operations in support of HMAS Warramunga. Warramunga's tasking last year included a Surface Combatant Navigation Course deployment to New Zealand; Exercises RIMPAC, Kakadu and Bersama Lima; and a South-East Asian deployment.
The Collins Trophy is awarded annually to a seagoing helicopter team that demonstrates the highest degree of operational efficiency, effectiveness and safety. Awarded by the Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, on advice from the Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, it is a hotly contested point of pride for embarked Flights and their parent Squadrons.
Throughout 2016, Flight 2 excelled in all aspects of anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare combining the challenge of helping to stand up a new embarked aviation capability in the Seahawk Romeo, whilst integrating harmoniously in Warramunga. In the process, MH-60R Flight 2 were internally and externally able to train and sustain the Australian Navy’ newest front line aviation capability.
The maintenance team met and exceeded the challenges presented to them in order to ensure the helicopter, callsign "Lionel" had superior availability which allowed a very high flying rate of effort. This not only supported Fleet tasking that year but optimised preparations for tasking in 2017.
MH-60R Flight 2 is now embarked in HMAS Newcastle and deployed in the Middle East on Operation MANITOU; the first Australian guided missile frigate to deploy with an MH-60R embarked.