Romeo on Show in USA

Published on LEUT Mark Flowerdew (author)

Location(s): Jacksonville

Members of the public inspect the new Royal Australian Navy's MH-60R helicopter during the 2014 Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Air Show. (photo: Unknown)
Members of the public inspect the new Royal Australian Navy's MH-60R helicopter during the 2014 Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Air Show.

The Royal Australian Navy's latest aviation acquisition has been on display at a recent airshow in Florida.

Under clear skies and warm autumn days, Naval Air Station Jacksonville and the St Johns River provided the perfect backdrop to what was a truly magnificent display of aviation capabilities, both new and old. The airshow was attended by 297,000 visitors over two days, with an incredible array of naval aviation on display.

Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Navy's NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost said it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Navy's newest submarine-hunter.

"It was also a chance to thank the local community here in Jacksonville who have so warmly accepted us into their great city over the last two years,” he said.

War birds from eras long-passed were parked beside the latest generation aircraft whilst non-stop flying demonstrations kept everyone enthralled. However the crowd were all waiting for the Blue Angels noting they were formed at air station in 1946.

Not to be outdone, NUSQN 725 personnel were certainly a draw card in the static display aircraft, proudly flying the flag and taking full advantage to engage visitors.

“There was an enormous amount of interest from the general public about Australia’s participation in the airshow and the role of the Royal Australian Navy in Jacksonville,” said Lieutenant Callum Newton.

“This has been an incredible experience and one that will live with me for many years to come.”

In another public engagement opportunity, NUSQN 725 flew to the Sikorsky factory at Troy, Alabama, where the MH-60R airframes are constructed. The visit coincided with a family day and the arrival of aircraft 902 proved to be a highlight for the locals.

For many Sikorsky employees, this was the first opportunity to see an airframe that they built in a fully operational state.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Tom Clunie, thoroughly enjoyed the day.

“To be able to show the Sikorsky workers the fruits of their labour was a great feeling. They were so excited and thankful for the opportunity to look over the aircraft and I was so pleased to show off our new machines," he said.

NUSQN 725 operations have now commenced from HMAS Albatross in Nowra. The squadron will have ceased all operations at Jacksonville by Christmas; however the fond memories of southern hospitality will remain with them for ever.

A member of NUSQN 725 with members of the public at the MH-60R helicopter static display during the 2014 Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Air Show.

A member of NUSQN 725 with members of the public at the MH-60R helicopter static display during the 2014 Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Air Show.