Anti-submarine warfare skills put to the test

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer), CPOA Colin McCallum (photographer)

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, 816 Squadron, Mark 54 Recoverable Exercise Torpedo

(l-r) 816 Squadron personnel Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Isaiah Andrews, Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Cameron Cornell and Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Colin Hunt prepare a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo for loading onto a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter prior to a recoverable torpedo exercise at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, New South Wales. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
(l-r) 816 Squadron personnel Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Isaiah Andrews, Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Cameron Cornell and Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Colin Hunt prepare a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo for loading onto a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter prior to a recoverable torpedo exercise at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, New South Wales.

It was a first for the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm when MH-60R helicopters from 816 Squadron dropped and recovered two Mark 54 Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area.

While the Squadron achieved successful Mk 54 Recoverable Exercise Torpedo drops during a 2014 deployment to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre in Florida, this is the first time the weapon has been dropped and recovered in Australia.

Commanding Officer 816 Squadron, Commander Todd Glynn said the primary role of the MH-60R is to provide anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities.

“The technicians in 816 Squadron, many of whom have a number of operational deployments under their belts, were well prepared for the additional inspections and signatures required for such an activity, Commander Glynn said.

“The attention to detail needed by the Aircraft Technician Avionics sailors who prepared the torpedoes, was even more acute.”

A Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter from 816 Squadron, Nowra, drops a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo, during a recoverable torpedo exercise, off the coast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

A Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter from 816 Squadron, Nowra, drops a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo, during a recoverable torpedo exercise, off the coast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

The Mk 54 combines the advanced sonar transceiver of the Mk 50 torpedo with the legacy warhead and propulsion system of the older Mk 46 torpedo.

CMDR Glynn said the exercise contributed to deploying battleworthy flights.

“Combining the Mk 54 with the Romeo's advanced acoustic systems situates Australia at the forefront of airborne anti-submarine warfare.” Commander Glynn said.

“Participating aircrew were required to utilise all the aircraft’s sensors to localise, track, and correctly classify the target prior to being given approval for the weapon release.”

“High end, Anti-Submarine Warfare skills need constant refinement, so aircrew were faced with some of most challenging run plans available on an Expendable Mobile Acoustic Training Target,” he said.

“The lessons identified from this and all our flying training is so important to delivering Australia a fighting navy.”

Imagery is available on Defence Images at https://images.defence.gov.au/S20203017 and https://images.defence.gov.au/S20203049.

The crew of MV Sycamore recovers a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo after being dropped from an Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopter during a recoverable torpedo exercise, off the coast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

The crew of MV Sycamore recovers a Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo after being dropped from an Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopter during a recoverable torpedo exercise, off the coast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales.