A leap forward in capability and training

Published on LEUT Ben Willee (author), ABIS James McDougall (photographer)

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Eammon O'Brien at the MH-60R Seahawk display at the 2015 Australian International Airshow at Avalon, Victoria.  (photo: ABIS James McDougall)
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Eammon O'Brien at the MH-60R Seahawk display at the 2015 Australian International Airshow at Avalon, Victoria.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Eammon O'Brien is part of the new breed of Navy capability on display at the Australian International Air Show and generating a lot of public interest.

Leading Seaman O’Brien is the Sensor Operator onboard the Navy’s new MH-60R Seahawk Romeo Helicopter and is talking to the public about his role and recent training in Jacksonville, USA.

The MH-60R Seahawk Romeo has a highly sophisticated combat system and is a proven capability currently operated by the United States Navy. The United States Navy has accepted around 100 Romeos which have accumulated 90,000 flying hours, including on operational deployments.

“It’s awesome, probably the best job in the Navy,” said Leading Seaman O’Brien.  

“My job is to control the sensor suite which includes above and below surface warfare, sonar, radar missiles and machine guns.  I collect, share and act on this information with the Aviation Warfare Officer.”

Training with the United States Navy has also been an important part of the Romeo’s introduction into the Royal Australian Navy.  Commenting on his training in the US, Leading Seaman O’Brien said he felt very privileged to have had the opportunity. 

"This platform is a generation ahead, has amazing capability and I especially enjoyed the Rescue Swimming Training with the US Team.” 

Interoperability with the United States is also a significant advantage of the helicopter.

Navy has a contingent of 40 personnel at Avalon this year and will be displaying the Romeo, the MRH-90 Taipan maritime support helicopter and the AS350BA Squirrel helicopter from squadrons based at the Fleet Air Arm in Nowra.