Aircrew from NUSQN 725 continue to build warfare skills in the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopter, taking full advantage of their US based operations and deploying to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre (AUTEC) in order to complete weapon firings and complex warfare training events.
Four Royal Australian Navy crews completed the intensive Helicopter Advanced Readiness Program (HARP) alongside their US Navy counterparts as part of the qualification process, whilst the maintenance teams finalised their training in weapons loading prior to deploying to AUTEC.
Speaking about the deployment, Commanding Officer of NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost, said the activity is the culmination of a lot of hard work by members of the Defence Material Organisation Phase 8 Project Team and the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.
“Although the main objective is to build warfare skills, it also signals a new era for the Fleet Air Arm, demonstrating the capability of this potent maritime combat helicopter.”
The HARP program covers all areas of MH-60R tactical flying, including advanced ground school training addressing aircraft employment, sensor utilisation, crew served weapons, surface and subsurface weapon employment and applied tactics.
It also includes intensive simulator events in the areas of Anti Submarine Warfare and Anti Surface Warfare.
Sensor Operator Leading Seaman Tom Clunie found the training invaluable, and a great way to round off his Operational Flying Training at HSM 40.
“The HARP training program has rapidly expanded my knowledge and capability within the MH-60R,” Leading Seaman Clunie said.
The training was provided by staff of the US Navy Weapons School located at Naval Station Mayport, and was effectively an applied Mission Readiness Evaluation for aviation assets.
HARP training is a pre-requisite for all US Navy crews prior to commencing a deployment, assuring the requisite level of capability in the specialised areas of warfare the MH-60R aircrew will be expected to operate in.
For Lieutenant Joel Bury, the training was an opportunity to expand his Aviation Warfare Officer skills as a Mission Commander, whilst cementing the principals that the initial Operational Flying Training provided.
“HARP ground school and simulator events provided for extremely challenging training scenarios.
“They gave me the ability to exercise the full array of tactics and techniques required to effectively fight the MH-60R,” he said.
NUSQN 725 has deployed two aircraft with support teams alongside detachments from two other US Navy MH-60R Squadrons. The deployed team will fire Hellfire missiles, conduct MK54 torpedo firings and complete combined complex air event training at the AUTEC range on Andros island.
Press Release, July 11, 2014; Image: Australian Navy