Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) HMAS Canberra has successfully landed a United States Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft on its flight deck for the very first time.
The trial was conducted as part of the sea phase for exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 off the north east coast of Hawaii.
Commander Air, HMAS Canberra, Commander Adrian Capner said the trial was the culmination of twelve months work.
“It demonstrates that we are capable of interacting with our coalition partners, in particular the United States. It also shows that we can adapt and remain agile to operate a whole range of international aircraft, not just aircraft in the Australian fleet,” he said.
Manufactured by Bell Boeing, the MV-22 Osprey has a wingspan of 14 metres and a length of 17.5 metres.
The aircraft has a cruising speed of 446 kilometres at sea level; a range of more than 1,600 kilometres, and the capacity to carry up to 32 troops or 9,000 kilograms of internal cargo.
To arrive at HMAS Canberra, the Osprey flew several hundred kilometres from the US Navy Landing Helicopter Amphibious, USS America on station off the east coast of Oahu.
USMC Osprey pilot and USS America Detachment Commander, Major Brandon Woods was prepositioned in Canberra’s Flight Command (FLYCO) for the aircraft arrival.
“Generally speaking, what we’re looking to achieve is interoperability with the Australians,” he said.
“In the future, when the United States and Australian navies are operating together, we can fluidly land on our respective ships and conduct missions, whatever that tasking may be.”
The MV-22 Osprey deck trial is part a series of high end war fighting exercises taking place during the sea phase of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 16.
RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, providing a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
The exercise is the first major international engagement for the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), MH-60R Seahawk and MRH-90 helicopters.