Commodore checks out navy’s new helicopters

THE MH60R Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopters, soon to arrive at HMAS Albatross, have been given the tick of approval by the Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro. 

Commodore Di Pietro has just returned from a visit to NUSQN 725 in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was given a firsthand look at one of the 24 new helicopters the RAN has bought.

As well as flying in the MH-60R simulator, he was given a hands-on opportunity to experience the MH-60R airborne.

Commodore Di Pietro was provided a complete demonstration of the aircraft’s capability, including anti-submarine warfare dipping operations, Hellfire missile simulation and a demonstration of the tactical mission set installed in the aircraft.

“The Romeo is a very impressive, highly capable maritime combat helicopter,” he said.

“Its effective operation will rely on highly trained maintainers and aircrew. 

“The dimension of what Romeo will bring to our fleet is amazing and it has been terrific to have had the opportunity to see it in action.”

During the visit, Commodore Di Pietro viewed aircraft maintenance activities, met with the squadron’s personnel, and support staff including Resident Project Team members, onsite Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky representatives and aircrew members undergoing training at the US Navy’s Training Squadron HSM 40.

“I’m very proud of what NUSQN 725 had achieved in Jacksonville and of their efforts in partnership with the project team, the Navy Aviation Systems Project Office (NASPO), HMAS Albatross and the Fleet Air Arm,” he said.

“This collective effort is the foundation for many years to come. It is important to realise that Romeo is with us for at least three decades; there are Romeo maintainers and aircrew of the future whose parents have not yet met – so we all need to get this right,” he said.

Commodore Di Pietro will only have to wait another five months to see RAN Seahawk Romeos flying at HMAS Albatross, with the entire squadron due to return to Australia by the end of this year.

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