LHD capability expanded through First of Class Flight Trials

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Christopher Thornton (author), ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, HMAS Adelaide (L01), Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit

Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Nicholas Simmons of the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit enters test flight data from an MH-60R helicopter into the computer onboard HMAS Adelaide. (photo: ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill)
Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Nicholas Simmons of the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit enters test flight data from an MH-60R helicopter into the computer onboard HMAS Adelaide.

First of Class Flight Trials on HMAS Adelaide are providing the ship’s Aviation Support team with vital training and the Royal Australian Navy with increased operational capability.

The trials off the Queensland coast determine the safe operating limits of the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopter on the ship in a range of sea states and wind speeds, by day and by night.

Embarked MRH-90 helicopter ‘Midnight’ prepares to land onboard HMAS Adelaide as embarked MH-60 Romeo helicopter ‘Cobra 15’ ground runs in the foreground during First of Class Flight Trials.

Embarked MRH-90 helicopter ‘Midnight’ prepares to land onboard HMAS Adelaide as embarked MH-60 Romeo helicopter ‘Cobra 15’ ground runs in the foreground during First of Class Flight Trials.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Broadbent of the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU) said the trials increase Adelaide’s operational capability and provide a war-fighting edge, particularly surface and underwater warfare.

“We have a three-week period where we fly the helicopters day and night, in different sea states and approaching different locations on the flight deck under varying environmental conditions and aircraft configurations,” Lieutenant Commander Broadbent said

“Even the aircraft’s behaviour in different ambient air temperature will provide us with important information.”

The AMAFTU is not the only unit to benefit from conducting flight trials on board.

Adelaide’s Aviation Support team is also conducting deck handling and crash-on-deck exercises to improve their familiarity with the MH-60R helicopter.

Chief Petty Officer Aviation Justin Penrose said the flight trials provided vital training to the ship’s aviation support sailors.

“By taking part in the flight trials my team has been able to complete a number of evolutions such as ground taxiing and running take-offs,” Chief Petty Officer Penrose said.

“This has been a great opportunity for them to develop their understanding of the roles and responsibilities required of an Aviation Support Sailor at sea.”

Aviation Support sailors manage the movements and deck systems of the Navy’s fleet of advanced military helicopters both on shore and at sea.

The trials ensure Navy maintains its readiness to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations in support of the Australian public and our neighbours.