The Australian Ambassador to the United States, the Honourable Kim Beazley, AC travelled to Jacksonville Florida on Monday to meet the officers and sailors of NUSQN 725 and see the benefits of Australia’s close relationship with the United States first hand.
The Ambassador’s first port of call was HSM-40, where aircrew of the senior Australian course were conducting Anti Submarine Warfare and Anti Surface Warfare weapons drills in preparation for their final tactical assessments. With the aid of a modern simulator, Ambassador Beazley witnessed both AGM-114(N) Hellfire and Mark 54 Torpedo engagements in addition to the potent mission systems the MH-60R Romeo Seahawk will bring to Royal Australian Navy.
Following an official call with Commander Navy Region South East (CNRSE) RADM R.L. Williamson, USN, Ambassador Beazley joined Australian Aviation Technician Avionics (ATV) sailors learning to diagnose and rectify malfunctions at the Centre for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU).
The day culminated with the Ambassador inspecting the temporary home of NUSQN 725 in the USA and meeting members of the new squadron around an operational MH-60R, provided by HSM-70.
Ambassador Beazley, a former defence minister, was extremely interested in the team’s experiences in Florida, in addition to the capabilities, operational expectations and employment of the aircraft’s weapons systems. The Naval Attaché to Washington, Commodore Stephen McDowall, DSM, CSM, RAN, who was travelling with the Ambassador, spoke of the good work being done both in the United States and at home to realise the MH-60R capability in Jacksonville.
The first Australian MH-60R will be delivered in Jacksonville in December 2013.
Press Release, September 19, 2013; Image: Australian Navy