Life as Perth's eye in the sky

This article has photo gallery Published on POET Daniel Wright (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Perth (F157)

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Liam Carruthers mans the 12.7mm Mounted Machine Gun from inside the cab of HMAS Perth's embarked MH-60R Helicopter as the ship begins it's first patrol in the Arabian Sea. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Liam Carruthers mans the 12.7mm Mounted Machine Gun from inside the cab of HMAS Perth's embarked MH-60R Helicopter as the ship begins it's first patrol in the Arabian Sea.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Liam Carruthers is a sensor operator on Navy’s most modern and advanced helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk, recently deployed to the Middle East region with HMAS Perth.
 
His job in the aircraft is to monitor the suite of sensors looking for suspect ships and dhows.
 
The aircraft also works in two other critical roles; as overwatch protecting the ship’s boarding party, and in search and rescue.
 
Leading Seaman Carruthers has the distinction of being the first sensor operator in the Navy to be trained in the MH-60R role.
 
Like Perth and the MH-60R, he was also on his first operational seagoing deployment.
 
“I went through my Squirrel aircrewman conversion course in 2011 and the day I got my wings I was told I was to be one of the first to be trained on the Romeo Seahawks in Florida in the United States,” Leading Seaman Carruthers said.
 
“It was awesome, I was there during 2013-2014 for 18 months and I learned a lot.”
 
Leading Seaman Carruthers has worked with the S-70B version of the Seahawk, but not in his current role.
 
“I was a maintainer on the Bravo version and it’s a step up for me to now be an aircrewman on the Romeo,” he said.
 
“Comparing what I’ve been told of the experience on the Bravo version, the Romeo is much more sophisticated and it is essentially a complete portable operations room.
 
“With all of its systems working together in the aircraft, we can paint an accurate picture of what is out there on the sea ahead of the ship.”
 
As well as monitoring the sensors in the aircraft he has many other functions.
 
“I also provide a surface swimmer capability for search-and-rescue tasks,” he said.
 
“I perform many roles and it’s a rewarding job.
 
“In the future I’d like to be an instructor on the aircrewman course.”
 
HMAS Perth returned to her home port in Western Australia on Remembrance Day after a successful mission in the Middle East as part of Operation MANITOU. She was replaced by sister ship HMAS Arunta.