The latest group of aircrew from the Royal Australian Navy's New Squadron 725 (NUSQN 725) has completed their Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) checks in Florida, USA with flying colours.
The happy group comprises two instructors and the first cadre of aircrew for the inaugural MH60R ‘Romeo’ flight to sea. Now that they have grasped flying the Romeo they have advanced to the tactical piece of the course and are learning to master the aircraft's multifaceted mission and weapons suite to fight the Romeo.
While the students continue the tactical phase including employing the imposing dipping sonar, the initial cadre of pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers (AvWO) and Sensor Operators (SENSO) are nearing completion of their Advanced training, with the first graduations occurring in August this year. On graduation they will reinforce their skills with several months of structured on the job training by flying with US Navy Squadrons.
The next few months will be very busy for aircrew at Jacksonville, Florida with the first of the basic course students arriving to commence their 12 month long flying training and those who have completed their training building the documentation starting to fly Royal Australian Navy (RAN) aircraft in December 2013.
For the new kids on the block, the Romeo will be their first taste of flying the Seahawk helicopter. The pace will be brisk as they come to terms with cutting-edge systems and learn to exploit the vast amounts information the Romeo delivers. Once graduated and on return to Australia they will form part of the first RAN Romeo ship's flight.
With the first aircraft arriving in early December the capability is quickly starting to take shape, and the team is nearly ‘Romeo Ready’.
The new generation Seahawk Romeo maritime warfare helicopter will replace the RAN's ageing fleet of S-70B-2 ‘Bravo’ Seahawks. A contingent of RAN aviators are conducting training with the US Navy in Florida, USA on the aircraft.