Ardent Three finds its wings

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Launceston (P94)

An 816 Squadron Seahawk helicopter hovers over the boat deck of HMAS Launceston. (photo: LEUT Andrew Ragless)
An 816 Squadron Seahawk helicopter hovers over the boat deck of HMAS Launceston.

Armidale Class Patrol Boat crew Ardent Three seized upon a rare opportunity this week to qualify for aviation operations.

Embarked in HMAS Launceston, the crew were able to combine routine training with a visit to Darwin by two of the Navy’s 816 Squadron S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters.

The combined training resulted in Ardent Three achieving their overall Aviation Sea Safety Assessment (ASSA) and gaining Helicopter Director (HD) qualifications for Executive Officer, LEUT Alex Finnis and the Buffer, PO Matt Keogh.

To achieve the ASSA, the crew demonstrated they could receive an aircraft safely, conduct transfer evolutions, and ensure their emergency response procedures were of the highest possible standard.

Commanding Officer of Ardent Three, LCDR Mick Miller said aviation practice for any patrol boat crew was a rare occurrence due to distance and the high tempo of border security operations.

“With patrol boats heading west from Darwin and Cairns, and the Squadron’s home in Nowra, NSW, the chance to have real time practice with a Seahawk helicopter was a fantastic experience for the crew,” he said.

“We conducted table top exercises and an Aviation Departmental Management Audit on the way out, making sure we had all the equipment and it was in good working order."

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130352.