Operational overwatch complete for Aircrewman

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Sebastian Beurich (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, Operation MANITOU, S-70B-2 Seahawk, HMAS Newcastle (F06), HMAS Arunta (F151), Drug Interdiction, Counter-piracy, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

Leading Seaman Aircrew Karl Beyer is seen in HMAS Arunta's Helecopter (Predator) while on patrol in the Middle East Region. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Leading Seaman Aircrew Karl Beyer is seen in HMAS Arunta's Helecopter (Predator) while on patrol in the Middle East Region.

Navy’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters have had a long history of supporting naval operations, and ‘Predator’ and its crew have not let that heritage down.

Serving in the Middle East on HMAS Arunta as the sensor operator aboard the ship’s Seahawk helicopter ‘Predator’, Nowra’s Leading Seaman Aircrewman Karl Beyer played a key role in the seizure of 260 kilograms of heroin in the Indian Ocean, as part of Operation MANITOU.

After swapping tools for a flying suit in 2010, he has now completed his third operational deployment.

“I originally joined the Navy as an Aviation Airframe and Engine Technician, back in 1995,” he said.

“After 15 years in the trade, I decided to see what life was like on the other side, and joined the Aircrewman branch.”

Leading Seaman Beyer’s role on Predator involved maintaining overwatch while his crew-mates conducted a 28-hour search onboard a dhow that was smuggling narcotics.

“I’m pretty proud of everything the ship’s company has achieved on our deployment,” he said.

“It’s a tough job, being away from home for the better part of nine months, but we all know we made a difference in the Middle East.”

Leading Seaman Beyer will be posted back to HMAS Albatross, Nowra, to further his career as an Aircrewman on a different type of aircraft, as Navy retires the the Bravo version of the renowned Seahawk.

“It was a great honour to be part of the last ever Seahawk ‘Bravo’ Flight, before this aircraft type retires from service,” he said. 

“The memories this aircraft have given me I will never forget.” 

Over his 22-year career, Leading Seaman Beyer has been posted to a number of ships and shore establishments but has resided in Nowra for the past 18 years.

“Being part of a ship’s flight is fantastic,” he said.

“It’s an unusual but great place to be, on a warship, working in a team of highly skilled professionals who are a bunch of good people.” 

Leading Seaman Beyer said he also enjoyed other aspects of his job, including the overseas travel and visiting new places. 

“The variety of this deployment, and the complexities that come along with it, are great, but I’m looking forward to getting home to my wife, Kate, and our two daughters.”

Operation MANITOU is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

There are about 200 Defence personnel deployed under Operation MANITOU.

HMAS Arunta has recently been replaced by HMAS Newcastle as Australia’s warship in the region.