Graduates ready to deploy

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Benjamin Hanson-Murphy (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, 725 Squadron, 816 Squadron

Graduates from the MH-60R conversion course on the 725 Squadron flight line at HMAS Albatross, NSW. L-R: Lieutenants Dylan Hush; Lachlan Murray; Simon Jeffery; Jake Laidlaw; Eliza Josey and Sub Lieutenant Ashley Hill. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
Graduates from the MH-60R conversion course on the 725 Squadron flight line at HMAS Albatross, NSW. L-R: Lieutenants Dylan Hush; Lachlan Murray; Simon Jeffery; Jake Laidlaw; Eliza Josey and Sub Lieutenant Ashley Hill.

The Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm has welcomed ten combat-ready aviators into the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ community, on completion of Operational Flying Training at 725 Squadron.

The number of graduates reflects the broad array of improvements and changes in capacity and capability across the Fleet Air Arm over the last 18 months.

It also reflects the high rate of training required of 725 Squadron, to provide aviators to the Fleet who are professionally excellent warfighters.

Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander James Hawley said he was immensely proud of the achievement of the graduates.

“The mission of 725 Squadron is to prepare MH-60 Romeo aviators and maintainers to conduct deployed combat and humanitarian operations,” Commander Hawley said.

“They must do so as professionally excellent, thinking warfighters, serving Australia, and I can confidently say that the men and women who graduate today are proof of that.”

Graduation is the culmination of a year of intense aircraft, warfare and tactics training.

“These new graduates will join 816 Squadron for services at sea in embarked Flights.

Sub Lieutenant Ashley Hill is joining Flight Three detached to HMAS Ballarat.

“I’m looking forward to playing an integral role as a qualified Warfare Officer and deploying on operational tasking,” Sub Lieutenant Hill said.

“The interoperability between the Flight and the ship’s operations department is something I am keen to experience.”

The graduates are among the first to have completed training directly from Navy’s Joint Helicopter School, 723 Squadron. The Joint Helicopter School uses sophisticated training aids, simulators and the EC-135 aircraft to prepare aviators for the challenges of Operational Flying Training at 725 Squadron.

Operational Flying Training is split into two distinct phases: Aircraft conversion, followed by Warfare and Tactics.

During the Aircraft conversion component of the course Pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers and Sensor Operators study and learn to operate the MH-60R and its myriad systems in normal and emergency modes.

On successful completion students are awarded a basic category and progress to the Warfare and Tactics phase, where the focus shifts to the MH-60R’s primary missions of surface and anti-submarine warfare.

This training is supported by state-of-the-art full motion simulators, augmented and virtual reality training aids.

This training regime is overlaid with a comprehensive professional development program aimed at increasing strategic awareness, knowledge of the operating environment and leadership.

Graduates of MH-60R conversion are professionally excellent warfighters who apply their training to uphold both the Squadron and Navy mottos: “Be Aggressive” and “To Fight and Win at Sea”.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20202339.

Graduates from the MH-60R conversion course with instructor Lieutenant Aaron Abbott, centre, on the 725 Squadron flight line at HMAS Albatross, NSW.

Graduates from the MH-60R conversion course with instructor Lieutenant Aaron Abbott, centre, on the 725 Squadron flight line at HMAS Albatross, NSW.