The Royal Australian Navy helicopter squadron New Squadron 725 (NUSQN 725) has sent another nine Hellfire Missiles off the rails of the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo Maritime Combat Helicopter during a major missile firing exercise in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Australians took part in Exercise Grey Fox, the biggest missile firing exercise ever undertaken by the United States Navy’s Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic (HSMWA).
The Strike Wing is responsible for seven United States Navy MH-60R helicopter squadrons and is also currently supporting NUSQN 725 with its mission to introduce the Romeo capability into the Royal Australian Navy.
Exercise Grey Fox provided towed and static targets to support strike coordination and delivery of 29 missiles by a number of squadrons. The exercise was initially planned to run for the entire week, but Florida’s weather only allowed for a few days of firing at the end of the exercise schedule. On the last two days, the summer weather finally returned, allowing NUSQN 725 to live up to its motto of ‘Be Aggressive’ by delivering the AQM-114 Hellfire Missiles in quick succession.
Commanding Officer of NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost, said he was proud of his team.
“They remained flexible throughout the week and when given the green light, they certainly stepped up; loading and firing to get nine hellfires off, on time and on target,” Commander Frost said.
“This achievement comes on the heels of our success at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre and it’s incredible to see such progress and system maturity in the space of only eight months,” he added.
To meet the challenge, NUSQN 725 employed section tactics (one formation of two aircraft) in three waves to deliver nine missiles, the most missiles of any squadron across the Strike Wing.
Maintainers and Aircrew, new to the MH-60R variant, remained calm and professional, with the results providing a very high level of confidence in the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm’s ability to deliver this new maritime combat capability.
NUSQN 725 will now turn its attention to sub-surface warfare, with further participation in local exercises, and will also progress plans to return to HMAS Albatross by December.