Mighty MRH-90s support Exercise RIMPAC

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), ABIS Kieran Dempsey (photographer), ABIS Tara Byrne (photographer)

Location(s): Hawaii, USA

Topic(s): MRH-90 Taipan, Exercise RIMPAC

An MRH-90 Helicopter from HMAS Adelaide conducts deck landing practice at sunset during Exercise RIMPAC 18. (photo: ABIS Kieran Dempsey)
An MRH-90 Helicopter from HMAS Adelaide conducts deck landing practice at sunset during Exercise RIMPAC 18.

HMAS Adelaide’s ongoing deployment in the Pacific is providing wider benefits as the ship’s two embarked helicopters carry airlift capabilities over the horizon.

The MRH-90 aircraft have been providing personnel transport, aerial survey and stores transfer services between other ships during Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2018 (RIMPAC), proving their usefulness and functionality.

The reliance on heavy airlift assets is being met by 808 Squadron Flights Two and Three from HMAS Albatross, who have worked long hours as the pilots, aircrew and maintainers responsible for keeping both aircraft flying.

MRH-90 pilot Lieutenant Ryan Cross said the international task group’s interoperability focus of RIMPAC had tested the aircraft and crews’ ability to switch operating modes from logistics support to tactical tasks, including amphibious support operations and surface warfare.

“On any given day we’re flying for a range of purposes, from something as simple as providing transport for personnel between other ships and ashore, to supporting multinational amphibious forces securing a beach with assault vehicles and landing craft,” LEUT Cross said.

“We’ve been operating in a joint environment with other aircraft from around the world sharing the airspace and we’ve had marines from a number of forces fly with us so they can comfortably load and offload from the MRH-90 in the future.”

Adelaide’s Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Earley said the embarked aircraft had displayed a sustained level of operational capability and serviceability never before seen on the LHD platform.

“Our two embarked MRH-90s have added a significant potency to Adelaide’s presence on deployment and indeed the entire joint task group deployed to Hawaii for RIMPAC,” Captain Earley said.

“A Landing Helicopter Dock carries a significant capability when it deploys on tasks over the horizon and, for HMAS Adelaide, a huge part of that capability depends on the efforts of the 37 personnel flying and maintaining the aircraft.”

Poseidon 29 and 45 are joined at RIMPAC by MR-60R helicopters ‘Mystique’ and ‘Nightmare’, attached to HMA Ships Melbourne and Toowoomba respectively, as well as more than 200 other aircraft from around the world.