HMAS Darwin's 'Battlecat' exercises with Japanese Navy

Published on LCDR Jason O'Gorman (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04)

HMAS Darwin and the Japanese Destroyer Matsuyuki conducted a helicopter exchange exercise in the Bay of Bengal last week. (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Darwin and the Japanese Destroyer Matsuyuki conducted a helicopter exchange exercise in the Bay of Bengal last week.

Navy has continued to build relationships with Pacific partners by conducting helicopter exercises with the Japanese Navy.

HMAS Darwin, under command of Commander Phillip Henry, was recently joined by the Japanese destroyer Matsuyuki in the Bay of Bengal.

Both ships were sailing to the Indian Navy International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, India.

As both Darwin and Matsuyuki are equipped with SH70 Seahawk helicopters, there was a rare opportunity to practice landing on the flight deck of the other ship.

Lieutenant Jake Wadsworth piloted Darwin’s helicopter ‘Battlecat’ for the exercise.

"While there were some small differences in the Japanese way of landing a helicopter on deck compared with the Australian Navy, my training kicked in and the professionalism of the Japanese sailors ensured the landing was conducted safely," Lieutenant Wadsworth said.

"It was my first time landing on a foreign ship - an awesome experience!"

Both landings were conducted safely with the crew of each helicopter given a little time to exchange ships’ plaques and take a look around before returning to their home platform.

HMAS Darwin is currently transiting via South East Asia to the Middle East region to undertake duties as part of Operation MANITOU. She will be the 62nd rotation of a Royal Australian Navy unit to the region since 1990. This will be Darwin’s seventh deployment to the region.