The New Squadron 725 (NUSQN 725) team at Naval Air Station Jacksonville recently grew by two, with the graduation of the first Royal Australian Navy Aircrewmen to complete the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo Basic Sensor Operators Course and achieve the qualification of ‘Senso’.
Graduates of the previous Seahawk course had the chance to gain experience on Royal Australian Navy Seahawks before joining the United States Navy’s training system, however, Leading Seaman Carruthers and Leading Seaman Clunie began their Romeo training in mid 2013 without this advantage. After ten months of intensive flying training at Naval Station Mayport with Squadron HSM40, they now join NUSQN 725 as qualified ‘Sensos’.
“The whole conversion was a great experience and an amazing opportunity,” Leading Seaman Carruthers said.
“The instruction and guidance we received from the US Navy was excellent. They are solid operators and have so much experience with the Seahawk,” he said.
“The Romeo is a multi role helicopter and it’s definitely a step up from previous aircraft I’ve qualified on,” Leading Seaman Clunie said.
The training consisted of aircraft and ground events covering numerous missions, ranging from Search and Rescue and Utility to the primary missions of Anti Submarine Warfare and Surface Warfare.
“This was definitely the most challenging part of the course,” Leading Seaman Clunie said.
“Their training was very intense included over 150 hours of flight and simulator events on multiple aircraft and weapons tactics trainers.
“There are a lot of systems to operate and you really have to have a lot of crew co-ordination and teamwork, particularly for Anti Submarine Warfare operations.
“Everything in the aircraft is geared to give you that critical piece of information and it’s an awesome piece of kit,” Leading Seaman Clunie said.
Leading Seamen Carruthers and Clunie will remain in the United States to join NUSQN 725 for operations from Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Further on-the-job training and operations under the Fleet Air Arm flying management system will consolidate their US Navy training and they will both play a critical role when the Squadron returns to Australia in December this year.