The future warfighting capability of the Royal Australian Navy took further shape in Sydney Harbour recently as Romeo met the Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade.
The first of the Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopters recently embarked in HMAS Perth alongside the Cruiser Wharf, Garden Island, Sydney. This was the first time a Royal Australian Navy MH-60R landed on an Australian warship and marked the start of the helicopter’s First Of Class Flight Trials.
The trial period is a crucial part in the introduction into service of the new helicopter; all aspects of the ship, aircraft and equipment interfaces are assessed to develop recommendations for embarked operating envelopes. ‘Romeo’ helicopters will progressively replace 16 Seahawk ‘Classic’ helicopters, which currently provide Navy’s combat helicopter capability.
HMAS Perth, which recently arrived in Sydney, will be operating on the East Coast for the next few weeks, conducting sea trials for the new ‘Romeo’.
These trials are expected to see ship and helicopter moving between Tasmania and North Queensland, to test the ship and helicopter in a range of weather and climate conditions.
HMAS Perth has recently emerged from an extended maintenance period, where a number of enhancements were made to the ship in support of the new aircraft.
The ship embarked personnel from the new ‘Romeo’ 725 Squadron and the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit. The latter are the lead agency for flight testing and certifying all new Navy aircraft.
The trials should complete towards the end of March, when HMAS Perth will return to Fleet Base West to start her Unit Readiness workup and then depart for deployment and exercises within the region.
Image: Australian Navy