The Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters and 817 Squadron have closed out 35 and 48 years of service, respectively, with a final flight held at HMAS Albatross near Nowra.
The flight was made as part of a decommissioning ceremony on Friday attended by Minster for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs.
Speaking at the ceremony, Snowdon paid homage to the squadron, saying they had “always served Australia with professionalism and skill.”
“Australia’s Sea Kings are being retired after a remarkable 35 years serving in times of conflict, peacekeeping, natural disaster, search and rescue and nation celebration,” Snowdon said.
“In particular I’d like to thank the men and women of the 817 Squadron past and present, who have served with distinction over the past 48 years.”
Snowdon also paid tribute to those who had lost their lives while serving in 817 Squadron, saying “their sacrifice must never be forgotten.”
Vice Admiral Griggs described the ceremony as a fitting end to a remarkable career for the personnel of 817 and the Sea King helicopters, but “after 35 years, it is time to look to the future with a new generation of aircraft.”
The Sea King replacement helicopter, the MRH-90 was recently added to the government’s Projects of Concern list.