The Fleet Air Arm’s 725 Squadron recently welcomed a group of specialist defence and aerospace media for a behind-the-scenes look at Navy’s newest and most potent naval combat helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’.
Most of the journalists were making their way south to Avalon in Victoria to attend the 2019 Australian International Air Show, making the pit stop at HMAS Albatross along the way.
While the MH-60R was a feature at the Air Show, the visit to 725 Squadron was designed to give the journalists a deeper insight into how aircrew and maintainers are trained to deliver the MH-60R combat capability.
Commanding Officer of 725 Squadron, Commander Stan Buckham said it was a privilege to be able to show the journalists what it takes to prepare sailors and officers to do their jobs in the maritime domain.
“Our mission at 725 is is to train, develop and mentor the world’s best MH-60R aviators and maintainers,” Commander Buckham said.
“So, I was proud to be able to introduce the journalists to our state of the art facilities and equipment, but more importantly to the excellent personnel who bring together all of the moving parts and make the system work,” he said.
The Royal Australian Navy takes great pride in its standards, instructors, trainees and state of the art training facilities and equipment.
The MH-60R Technical Training System is provided and sustained by a number of agencies, including the Naval Aviation Systems Program Office, the United States Navy and CAE.
Industry partnerships play a vital role in assisting the Fleet Air Arm in training helicopter personnel to operate and maintain highly specialised, complex helicopters for a range of vital missions, including attack, tactical support, search and rescue, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.
The MH-60R training program uses CAE-built and delivered training which provide simulation and modelling technologies.
“The MH-60R training system is a contemporary example of Defence and Industry collaboration and it would not work any other way,” Commander Buckham said.
“I was also particularly keen for these journalists to see how all the stakeholders contributed to the mission outcome of training MH-60R qualified aircrew and maintainers, and how the contemporary use of simulation and devices achieve what was traditionally only trained through live flying.”
Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm, Captain Grant O'Loughlan said he also wanted the journalists to take away an understanding of Navy’s innovative approach to training personnel within the Fleet Air Arm.
“We were also keen to showcase what naval aviation entailed, its complexity and the high level of training our people get,” Captain O’Loughlan said.
“Finally, we wanted to emphasise the importance of the relationship between Industry and ourselves in both training our personnel and supporting the overall capability,” he said.
Journalist Kate Warner of Military Simulation & Training magazine said she was very impressed with everything she saw.
“The 725 Squadron's MH-60R training system is a state-of-the-art, fully integrated and custom-built training facility that reflects the advanced capability of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter,” Ms Warner said.
“The authentically rich and immersive synthetic environment provides aircrew with the opportunity to repeatedly train for a multitude of seen and unforeseen operations while this world-class training facility, a collaboration between defence and industry, enables the 725 Squadron to fully realise the potential of the highly sophisticated Seahawk by safely pushing it - and its aircrew - to their limit,” she said.
The MH-60R is equipped with highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
The primary missions of the ‘Romeo’ helicopter are anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.
More information about the MH-60R can be found at: http://www.navy.gov.au/aircraft/sikorsky-mh-60r-seahawk.