Aussie Romeo flies through 10,000

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Mitchell Laughlan (author), LS Eammon O'Brien (photographer), ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer), CPL Ben Dempster (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, HMAS Stirling, MH-60R Seahawk, 725 Squadron

The Royal Australian Navy's MH-60R Romeo helicopter conducts functional testing of the newly fitted Airborne Low Frequency Sonar System (ALFS) off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. (photo: LS Eammon O'Brien)
The Royal Australian Navy's MH-60R Romeo helicopter conducts functional testing of the newly fitted Airborne Low Frequency Sonar System (ALFS) off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

Navy's MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters have passed the fleet milestone of 10,000 flying hours since the maturing capability began in December 2013 with 725 Squadron operating from Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the USA.

Commodore Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn said the achievement was significant.

“The fact that our Navy has achieved it in less than four years since commencing flying the type, while continuously accepting new aircraft, standing up new flights and progressing through the various transitions is a testament to the talent and professionalism of all involved with the Romeo helicopters,” said Commodore Smallhorn.

Since 2013, operations and training have continued steadily with the return of the squadron to Australia, the acceptance of a major new facility at HMAS Albatross, in Nowra, New South Wales, preparation of the west-based facilities at HMAS Stirling and upgrades to a suite of training devices.

MH-60R helicopters have commenced flying with 816 Squadron, facilitating an increasing number of embarked flights committed to operations and exercises. That squadron has currently mounted five fully capable MH-60R embarked flights and the sixth flight has formed.

“Overall, our MH-60R aircraft have completed more than 3,500 sorties all around the world,” Commodore Smallhorn said.

“The MH-60R has provided the Navy with a quantum leap in warfighting capability with a range of advanced sensors, potent weapons and improved integration across the maritime domain.

“The strength of a Task Group is underwritten by the manner in which the capability elements integrate as one, and Navy is taking great strides in exploiting the impressive warfare capabilities of the MH-60R weapon system,” he said.

Training remains an integral part of the capability, accounting for well over half the total fleet hours.

Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matt Royals, said the mix of computer based training, simulation and flying has proven second to none in preparing Navy people for the ultimate objective.

“The focus on the training production of aircrew and maintainers ensures that the personnel critical to the capability can both support the embarked flights and keep the aircraft at the cutting edge of warfighting,” he said

For more about the Romeo visit http://www.navy.gov.au/aircraft/mh-60r-seahawk