Adelaide provided an opportunity for a CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, an MRH-90 Taipan and an ARH Tiger helicopter to operate on its flight deck concurrently during the training exercises, which were conducted off the coast of Queensland near Townsville as part of Exercise SEA WADER.
Multiple crews from Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment, based in Darwin, and 5th Aviation Regiment from Townsville maintained their landing currency for the amphibious platform, allowing them to land on Navy’s largest warships.
Major (Army) Sacheen Gallop, Airops HMAS Adelaide, said the deck landing operations and qualifications along with joint training were essential to allow aircrew to maintain their skills and competency requirements.
“Army aviation teams have most recently worked alongside their Navy counterparts in Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST and as we move into the high-risk weather season the deck landing qualifications will allow for more aviation assets to operate off Adelaide,” Major Gallop said.
Adelaide is currently the Navy’s high-readiness vessel and is available to support humanitarian and disaster relief operations domestically and in the region.
Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Martin, Commanding Officer 5th Aviation Regiment, said the unit’s MRH-90 and Chinook crews were training to maintain proficiency for amphibious operations with HMAS Adelaide.
“This is to enable us to posture for any contingency operations in the region or to support disaster response operations if called upon by government,” he said.
The deck landing qualifications with Army followed a similar exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47 helicopter crews, which also successfully qualified their aircrew over two days of flight training on Adelaide just off Townsville.
Singapore’s CH-47 aircraft worked alongside Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment during the 2020 bushfire emergency in Victoria.
Lieutenant Commander Adam Wells said the training and deck landings were also providing a valuable opportunity for the ship’s aviation support team.
“In the ship’s aviation team we have a lot of trainees at the moment so they’re able to be exposed to new types of aircraft that they don’t always see,” he said.
Adelaide is currently hosting the Australian Amphibious Task Group for a range of amphibious training in Far North Queensland as part of Exercise SEA WADER, which runs from 24 October to 8 November 2020.