The new joint helicopter school has taken its first intake of students at HMAS Albatross.
The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army have joined forces with industry to train rotary wing crews at a new joint helicopter school as part of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System [HATS] .
The first intake of 37 future pilots, aircrew and Aviation Warfare Officers started the 26-week training course last week at a new dedicated facility at Nowra air station.
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, said the establishment of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System within 723 Squadron represents a major step forward for next-generation military helicopter training.
“The ongoing partnership with Boeing Defence Australia ensures our aviators receive the best training we can offer to do their job,” Commodore Smallhorn said.
“Our navy and army aviators operate some of the most advanced equipment in the world, which is now matched by state of the art training facilities that combine full motion simulation, virtual reality and airborne instruction in a purpose built school house.
“Maritime, littoral and land warfare is a demanding vocation, and mission success often relies on the aviator. HATS will ensure they are ready.”
Acting Director of Navy Aviation Systems Branch, Captain Steven Arney, said the facilities will do more than assist our future Army and Navy aircrews.
“The initiative and new facilities provide learning opportunities for apprentices and trainees and also help to secure local jobs on world leading projects,” Captain Arney said.
“The training school will deliver an integrated training system for all Australian Defence Force rotary wing aircrew and provide streamlined initial pilot training in a highly realistic environment before conversion to operational navy and army aircraft.”
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The first intake is a major milestone and a testament to the Commonwealth’s $500 million upgrade to facilities at HMAS Albatross and the strength of collaboration between industry and defence.
The school has been in development for the last three years.
It provides opportunities for up to 380 contractors to work on the program and will train up to 116 students each year.