During the first week of December, 816 Squadron took part in the Fleet Experimentation Period. These important few days enabled the Fighting Tigers to push new capabilities and exercise the core war fighting focus of 816 Squadron.
It took a co-coordinated effort from many contractors and other units to support two Mk 46 warshot firings, two Mk 46 exercise torpedo launches and a combined 50 calibre machine gun shoot against a remote target with the Navy Unmanned Aerial System Development Unit (NUASDU) Scan Eagle Unmanned Aircraft setting up overwatch above.
Early in the week, the Seahawk successfully fired two Mk 46 mod 5 warshots with excellent support from a Bell 429 from 723 Squadron taking video footage. These torpedo firings exercised HMAS Albatross's ordinance loading procedures and assisted in the development of a new anti-submarine warfare target for the fleet.
Officer in Charge of Warfare Cell in 816 Squadron, Lieutenant Matthew Hudson, expressed the importance of the week.
“While crews get the opportunity to fire torpedos on a regular basis in the simulator, there is no substitute for flying and deploying a live weapon," Lieutenant Hudson said.
This event paves the way for further ordinance preparation for the Seahawk Romeo helicopter. The four torpedo firings also completed the operational flying training for four Aviation Warfare Officers and achieved training requirements for maintenance crews.
During the week the NUASDU joined 816 Squadron to complete the first co-operative serial between a manned helicopter and the Unmanned Aerial System by the Fleet Air Arm. This important milestone demonstrated a new and exciting capability that the Royal Australian Navy is exploring, using state of the art unmanned aircraft, with the potential to enhance the operational effectiveness of the Seahawk.
“It was an extremely successful week for 816 Squadron, continuing to develop tactics for the S-70B-2 Seahawk and preparations for the transition to the new Romeo," he said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143725.