A flight in AUSINDEX15

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Location(s): Visakhapatnam, India

Navy helicopter pilot Lieutenant Michael Mulquiney on the flight deck before flying a mission in HMAS Arunta's S-70B Seahawk helicopter, 'Night Fury'. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Navy helicopter pilot Lieutenant Michael Mulquiney on the flight deck before flying a mission in HMAS Arunta's S-70B Seahawk helicopter, 'Night Fury'.

Lieutenant Michael Mulquiney is one of the aircrew currently embarked in HMAS Arunta for AUSINDEX15, in the waters off Visakhapatnam, India.

Now a pilot within the Royal Australian Navy, he previously worked as a commercial pilot and flying instructor as well as working in heavy industry - in a whole other life - as he calls it.

“Life circumstances provided me with an opportunity to join the Navy at age 35 and this in turn enabled me to fulfil a life ambition to become a pilot within the military,” Lieutenant Mulquiney said.

Lieutenant Mulquiney who grew up in Maitland, New South Wales, has now served eight years within Navy and is currently residing in Perth being attached to the west-coast based ship, Arunta, however he normally lives in Nowra where the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is based.

As part of squadron detachments, Lieutenant Mulquiney has operated both AS350B Squirrel and S70B-2 helicopters out of Townsville and Darwin and has flown the eastern seaboard from as far north as Townsville, and south to Melbourne and Adelaide on many occasions. He also completed several crossings of Bass Strait to Tasmania where he was able to explore the whole island. 

“As a part of ship’s company I have toured both islands of New Zealand, but with this North East Asian deployment and AUSINDEX15, it is just the beginning of many great international adventures for me,” he said. 

“Over the last three years I have been heavily engaged in promoting Navy and Australian Defence Force careers through flying our helicopters to partake in school visits, base open days, support appearances at public sporting events and a variety of tasking during the International Fleet Review on Sydney Harbour.

“Now, in Arunta, I am fulfilling the operational role as part of a ship’s flight at sea, and I am excited to put my skills into practice during the exercise,” said Lieutenant Mulquiney.

Australian Defence Force personnel regularly interact with a variety of other military forces. AUSINDEX15 is the first bilateral maritime exercise to take place between India and Australia.

The exercise commenced with a harbour phase involving briefings and practical demonstrations ashore, before progressing to sea. Sea-phase serials will include a coordinated anti-submarine exercise, surface firing exercises, air defence exercises, seamanship evolutions (including replenishment at sea serials) and aviation operations with embarked helicopter flights.