The Navy’s newest Squadron - 808 - was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm on 11 July, in a traditional ceremony at HMAS Albatross.
The ceremony also marked the formal induction into the Australian Defence Force aircraft fleet of the MRH90 ‘Taipan’ Multi-Role Helicopter, which will be operated by both the Navy and Army.
Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, Commander of the Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, Commander of the Fleet Air Arm Commodore Vincenzo Di Pietro, Commanding Officer of 808 Squadron Commander Charles Stephenson, and current and former 808 Squadron personnel and their families attended.
This significant milestone is the culmination of three years of training, testing, development and trials to bring this new generation, high-tech aircraft into service and to prepare squadron personnel to operate it.
Navy will use the aircraft for the maritime support role previously carried out by the now retired Sea King helicopter, while the Army would use it to replace its Blackhawk helicopters as a battlefield and special operations support helicopter.
“Bringing a technologically advanced aircraft into service is no simple task. 808 Squadron personnel have worked tirelessly, together with the Army and Defence Material Organisation, to reach this milestone and I commend them,” Rear Admiral Barrett said.
808 Squadron originated as a Royal Navy squadron and was last commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy during the 1950s when it operated fighter aircraft from the Navy’s aircraft carriers HMA Ships Sydney and Melbourne.
The re-commissioned 808 Squadron inherits its predecessor’s crest, battle honours and motto ‘Strength in Unity’, along with its legacy of operational excellence, courage under fire and of breaking new ground in Naval aviation.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130706.