Australian Navy trained Romeo crews graduate

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Mark Flowerdew (author), Ms Natalie Staples (author)

Location(s): Nowra, New South Wales

725 Squadron has achieved another milestone with the graduation of the first MH-60R Basic Operational Flight Training undertaken in Australia. (photo: Unknown)
725 Squadron has achieved another milestone with the graduation of the first MH-60R Basic Operational Flight Training undertaken in Australia.

Home of the 'Romeo' helicopter, 725 Squadron, has achieved another milestone with the graduation of trainees from the first MH-60R Basic Operational Flight Training undertaken in Australia. 

Two pilots, two aviation warfare officers and two sensor operators graduated from the course.

All graduates are now looking forward to expanding their flying experience with postings to sea as members of ship’s flights, or consolidating their training at 725 and 816 Squadrons.  

Aviation warfare specialist, Lieutenant Dan Cochrane said the course was a highlight of his career to date.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to fly one of the worlds most advanced helicopters, which delivers a next generation capability to the warfare community,” he said.

The course consisted of 70 hours in the aircraft and over 110 hours in a state-of-the-art simulator, covering also ground training topics from aircraft systems to warfare theory and tactics. 

Training Officer at 725 Squadron, Lieutenant Commander Craig Castle said it was an achievement to deliver the syllabus for the first time.

“It has taken a considerable amount of work to appreciate the complexities of delivering a foreign military product to the high standards expected of the Australian Defence Force,” he said.

Previously, the course was delivered by the United States Navy.  The Romeo Seahawk helicopter was acquired as a ‘total military-off-the-shelf’ capability including training, technical and logistic support.

For Sub Lieutenant Will Gladding the course was the pinnacle of a number of years of pilot training.

“I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to sign for a Seahawk as aircraft captain while still a Sub Lieutenant and this emphasises the quality and significance of the training delivered,”  he said. 

The basic level operational flight trainer takes aircrew who had previously trained on Squirrel and Bell 429 helicopters and applies fundamental aviation experience to more complex and demanding warfare scenarios. 

Students were put through their paces in training scenarios covering search and rescue, utility, night vision flying, and the anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matt Royals congratulated the graduates.

“Graduation of our first domestically trained crews is a significant milestone in the maturation of the Romeo capability and the careers of these impressive individuals,” he said.