“It is definitely an impressive sight to see the Sycamore enter Sydney Harbour,” stated Damen sales director for the Asia Pacific, Roland Briene.
“The MATV project really highlights what can be achieved with this joint team effort. We have accomplished the on-time and on-budget construction of a complex vessel that will provide an efficient, functional and comfortable training platform for the Royal Australian Navy.”
The 14-day voyage proved instructive.
“So far, the MV Sycamore has proved to be very fuel efficient, with a range exceeding the contracted requirements,” Briene said.
“What is more, she has encountered some rough weather, causing significant movement, which she handled very well.”
The MATV concept is the result of the merging of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) requirement with a requirement to replace the training vessel Seahorse Horizon.
The 94-metre-long MATV is being acquired to support a range of Australian Defence Force training activities including initial helicopter deck landing qualifications, and the vessel is expected to be available to support EC135 T2+ flying operations in the fourth quarter of this year.
Under current plans, the HATS EC135 helicopter will only be qualified with the MATV to support ab initio training. But the vessel will also be capable of operating the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ and the MRH90 multirole helicopter, and first-of-class flight trials for these types are scheduled for early 2018.
In addition, the MATV will host live training on the Maritime Tactical Unmanned Air System (MTUAS) that will be operated from the Offshore Patrol Vessels and will be introduced into service under the SEA 129 Phase 5 Stage 1 project.
Besides being used for deck landing qualifications, the MATV is being procured to support other training activities such as at-sea familiarisation, practice weapon recovery and navigation training, as well as for limited fleet support duties.
Damen announced in April that Sycamore had completed sea trials, having been launched in Vietnam in August last year.
As well as being put through activities such as manoeuvring and speed tests, the MATV underwent testing of all military systems. All of the vessel’s systems and processes were accepted by the Commonwealth, Damen stated.
Denmark-headquartered company Terma stated on May 17 that it has delivered and trialled the helicopter mission control system for the MATV, comprising the SCANTER 6002 air and surface surveillance radar and the C-Flex mission system.
Serco is delivering the MATV under the same arrangement as for the submarine escape gear ship Besant and the submarine rescue gear ship Stoker, both of which are operated and maintained by the company.