Birdies hone anti-submarine warfare skills

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

725 Squadron's MH-60R 'Romeo' helicopter conducts a DIPEX serial in the Jervis Bay area. (photo: LSIS Sarah Williams)
725 Squadron's MH-60R 'Romeo' helicopter conducts a DIPEX serial in the Jervis Bay area.

Over the past two weeks, aviation personnel from the Royal Australian Navy’s 725 Squadron based at HMAS Albatross, have been conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises with submarine, HMAS Rankin, off Jervis Bay.
Navy’s latest anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo' maritime combat helicopters conducted a number of sonar dipping activities to locate the submarine, localise and track it.
Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matthew Royals said it had been an intensive period of training.
“This is the first time we’ve done a 'DIPEX' in the Royal Australian Navy since 1994,” he said.
“The interaction between Rankin and 725 Squadron during the exercise was excellent and we have learnt a lot from an air crew and maintenance perspective."
Australia’s fleet of submarines was designed to be as quiet as advanced technology can achieve.  The single propeller submarine moves silently on electric power supplied to the propulsion motor by banks of batteries, which makes them challenging to locate.
“While our Collins class submarines are very stealthy, the sonar buoys and airborne low frequency sonar we use are highly developed," Commander Royals said.
"They have been in service with the US Navy for many years and are a proven capability, as is the entire MH-60R aircraft.
"The aircraft have been highly serviceable and they’ve done a great job.”
The MH-60R is the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter.  It is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite, torpedoes and air-to-surface missiles, which has increased Navy’s versatility and potency as a high-end fighting force.  
While the training was valuable for the aviators, it was also an important exercise for Rankin.
“For the submariners, it’s an opportunity to hear what noise our equipment makes so they can identify it and practice avoidance techniques,” Commander Royals said.
Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Travis Chamberlain said for him, the activity was a chance to put training into action.
“My job was supervising the servicing of the sonar buoy launcher," he said.

"This entailed filling the sonar buoy launcher cylinder with nitrogen, allowing our pilot to discharge the sonar buoy during flight.
“I really enjoy working on the MH60-R - the helicopter is a fabulous capability and it’s excellent to put into practice what we’ve trained to do,” Leading Seaman Chamberlain said.