The Royal Australian Navy EC-135 helicopters of 723 Squadron based at HMAS Albatross recently logged 10,000 flying hours during normal operations in support of the NSW bushfires.
This significant milestone proved the aircraft's rotary wing aircrew's training capabilities and reliability in highly demanding operations.
Commanding Officer 723 Squadron, Commander Bruce Willington was proud to see his aircrews and the fleet of 15 EC-135 helicopters reach the milestone in only three years.
"I would like to congratulate my skilled and committed aircrew, maintenance teams and support personnel who have all contributed to this milestone," CMDR Willington said.
"The training opportunities we provide to our next generation of aircrew in the EC-135 is world-class and is creating professional and resilient aircrew with the decision-making and teamwork skill to be effective in future land and maritime operations," he said.
The EC-135 helicopter is a commercial off-the-shelf training helicopter that offers a glass cockpit with high visibility, a multi-axis auto-pilot, plus other advanced technologies to help instructors perform training missions.
The EC-135 offers the performance and safety of a twin-engine helicopter that replaced both the navy Squirrel and army Kiowa single-engine helicopter types.
While two of the helicopters were supporting the NSW bushfire operations out of RAAF Base Williamtown (near Newcastle), the rest of the squadron celebrated the 10,000-flying-hour milestone.
"While it would have been nice to have had everyone here to celebrate the milestone, we are an operational squadron and honoured to support our fellow Australians in their time of greatest need," CMDR Willington said.
"I am extremely proud to see representatives of our squadron making a contribution to this national operation and the opportunity for our recent graduates to demonstrate their skills while supporting the community."