Royal Australian Navy landing ship HMAS Choules recently welcomed the Army’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter aboard for its first of class flight trials.
Elements from the Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment and the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit embarked Choules for the duration of the flight trials.
The CH-47F conducted 206 launches and flew for a total of 66 hours. Observations and measurements of the flights formed the basis for the development of ship helicopter operating limits, which define the conditions for the safe conduct of CH-47F flying operations in Choules.
Many of the flights took place off the coast of Queensland in all types of conditions influenced by wind, sea and swell, the Royal Australian Navy said.
Commanding officer HMAS Choules, Commander David Graham was pleased with the aircraft.
“The CH-47F is a reliable workhorse with a great reputation for delivering cargo on time and on target.
“I am looking forward to seeing them in Choules on future operations,” Commander Graham said.
The CH-47F Chinook is capable of carrying a large number of passengers and cargo, and the operation will bring about the expansion of operational flexibility within the ADF.
The Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU) also made a series of observations to provide feedback to Navy on how to make CH-47F operations work safely and effectively.
Lieutenant Commander Angus Hamilton of AMAFTU said conducting first of class flight trials involving the integration of an Army aircraft into the maritime environment was a very complex process with a number of interesting challenges.
“The combined Navy and Army flight test team has brought together the expertise of both the aircraft and maritime aviation operations.
“Additionally, the extensive ship-specific knowledge provided by Choules’ ship’s company, has allowed us to develop an enduring capability for both Choules and the CH-47F,” Lieutenant Commander Hamilton said.