Navy LADS Dash 8 deploys to New Zealand

Commissioned in November 2009, the new Dash 8 Aircraft is the only fixed-wing aircraft belonging to the RAN and is utilised for Laser Airborne Depth Sounding.
The Laser Airborne Depth Sounder Flight’s Dash 8, VH-LCL, is deploying to New Zealand. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Navy’s only fixed-wing aircraft, its contractor-operated Dash 8 Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) platform is due to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday to survey part of the earthquake-hit South Island’s coastline.

Defence said in a statement on Thursday that the aircraft will conduct a hydrographic survey of the sea floor in the coastal margins of the north-east coast of the South Island following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake near Christchurch earlier this month.

“In our de Havilland Dash 8-200 we will fly over the area and collect hydrographic survey data, which will reveal what has happened below the waterline, and identify any shifts in the ocean floor which mariners need to be aware of,” commanding officer Laser Airborne Depth Sounder Flight Lieutenant Commander Susanna Hung said in a statement.

“The data we collect will be provided to the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority for production of updated nautical charts.”

Operated by Fugro LADS Corporation and Cobham, the Cairns-based, civil-registered LADS Dash 8 was commissioned in 2009 and is part of the RAN’s Hydrographic Service. Navy personnel operate airborne survey equipment from the aircraft’s main cabin.