Fleet Air Arm training the future of the force

Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author), CPL Jessica de Rouw (photographer)

Location(s): Avalon Airport, VIC

Topic(s): 723 Squadron, EC-135T2, Australian International Airshow

Royal Australian Navy pilot, Lieutenant Simon Jeffery, showcases the 723 Squadron EC-135T2+ helicopter at the Australian International Airshow 2019 held in Avalon, Victoria.  (photo: CPL Jessica de Rouw)
Royal Australian Navy pilot, Lieutenant Simon Jeffery, showcases the 723 Squadron EC-135T2+ helicopter at the Australian International Airshow 2019 held in Avalon, Victoria.

The Royal Australian Navy is renowned for its high quality of training to prepare for existing and future operations.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, regularly emphasises the quality of Navy's sailors and officers and asserting them as the most important factor in the Fleet's future success.

Current and future capabilities will require cutting edge skills and Navy's Senior Leadership has accepted the need to design, develop and nurture a workforce that's ready and able to meet Australia's requirements of its Navy well into the future.

723 Squadron is on the front line of this important mission, tasked with providing all the helicopter training for the Navy.

The squadron is currently showcasing the Navy’s helicopters at the 2019 Australian International Airshow at Avalon Victoria.

Lieutenant Simon Jeffrey is a pilot with 723 Squadron, currently flying EC-135T2+ helicopters. At the Airshow, he's welcomed a lot of questions about his job.

“A highlight of my career has been flying the 135 - it is a great aircraft, really easy to fly but advanced at the same time,” Lieutenant Jeffrey said.

“The EC-135 T2+ is a military training helicopter that offers a glass cockpit with high visibility, as well as a multi-axis auto-pilot and the safety of a twin-engine helicopter,” he said.

Lieutenant Jeffery has also piloted unmanned aircraft with 822X squadron, having deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations in HMAS Newcastle in 2018.

He’s looking forward to his next career move too, likely to be a posting to 816 Squadron to fly the MH-60R Seahawk, affectionately referred to as ‘Romeos’.

“The EC-135 provides the opportunity to conduct additional training not previously conducted at 723 Squadron and it will make us better prepared for conversion onto the Romeo,” Lieutenant Jeffery said.

The Australian International Airshow is being held at Avalon from 26 February to 3 March 2019.

Additional Australian International Airshow 2019 imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: https://images.defence.gov.au/s20190280.