Bravo, bravo to outgoing Seahawk

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author), CPL Craig Barrett (photographer)

Location(s): Avalon International Airshow 2017

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, S-70B-2 Seahawk, 725 Squadron, 816 Squadron, Avalon International Airshow

Lieutenant Luke Mein from 816 Squadron in the cockpit of Seahawk S70B-2 which is on display at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon. (photo: CPL Craig Barrett)
Lieutenant Luke Mein from 816 Squadron in the cockpit of Seahawk S70B-2 which is on display at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon.

This year’s Avalon International Airshow marks a changing of the guard for the Royal Australian Navy’s helicopter fleet.

The Navy’s Sikorsky S70-B2 Seahawk – known as the ‘Bravo’ – is winding down operations.

Its replacement is the modern, fifth generation MRH-60 Seahawk ‘Romeo’.

Both helicopters are on display at the Avalon – the new Romeo will be flying, while the older Bravo is on static display.

Lieutenant Luke Mein, an instructor, has been inundated with questions about the Bravo while manning the stand at Avalon.

“The Bravo had always been a capable workhorse, but the new Romeo is a quantum leap forward in terms of warfighting capability,” Lieutenant Mein said.

“Navy has placed a heavy focus on a strategic planning cycle to make sure assets were replaced in a timely fashion,” he said.

Petty Officer Aircrew Jason Wikman is also a Bravo instructor who is at Avalon this week assisting at the Navy display.

“She might be an aging helicopter but people are still very interested to know all about her,” Petty Officer Wikman said.

“As an instructor I believe the training involved to the transition from the Bravo to Romeo has delivered a skilled and flexible aviation workforce to the Navy,” he said.

Lieutenant Mein and Petty Officer Wikman are among about a dozen Navy aviators who are still flying the Seahawk Bravo. Both will transition to the new Romeo variant.

Navy has purchased 24 of the Romeos, which are now in service operating out of 725 and 816 Squadrons at HMASAlbatross in Nowra, New South Wales. 

The primary mission of the Romeo helicopter is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary roles include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.

With a twin turboshaft engine, the Seahawk is based on the US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk design. It is able to deploy from a range of surface ships.

The Seahawk boasts an impressive pedigree, and has been exported from the United States to serve with various armed forces around the world.

But there’s still fight left in the old Bravo – one is currently deployed in HMAS Arunta, serving in the Middle East.