The Royal Australian Navy and Army have inducted the MRH 90 Taipan multi-role at a commissioning ceremony at HMAS Albatross near Nowra, NSW. The ceremony also marked the formal induction of 808 Squadron to operate the new aircraft.
The milestone represents the culmination of three years’ of training, testing, development and trials to bring the MRH90 into service. Further trials will be conducted with the aircraft after commissioning.
Rear Admiral Tim Barrett said the Navy would use the aircraft for the maritime support role previously carried out by the now retired Sea King helicopter, while the Army would use it to replace its Blackhawk helicopters as a battlefield and special operations support helicopter.
“The commissioning of 808 Squadron is a significant milestone for the Navy as we formally welcome into service a new generation, maritime support helicopter that not only replaces the retired Sea Kings, but delivers new capabilities and a capacity to meet emerging requirements in the future,” Barrett said.
808 Squadron was previously commissioned into the RAN during the 1950s when it operated fighter aircraft from the Navy’s aircraft carriers HMAS Sydney and Melbourne.
“Bringing a technologically advanced, new generation aircraft into service is no simple task, but 808 Squadron personnel have worked tirelessly together, and with the Defence Materiel Organisation project office and the Army to reach this milestone,” Barrett added.
“There are several nations around the world introducing variants of the MRH 90 Helicopter, but 808 Squadron is leading the world in the level of capability being achieved with this new aircraft, particularly in its operations at sea.”
808SQN will be based at the Naval Air Station, HMAS Albatross and its aircraft will operate from the Navy’s amphibious and afloat support ships such as Success, Tobruk and Choules.
In future, the MRH 90 will also operate from the new 27,000-tonne Landing Helicopter Dock amphibious ships Canberra and Adelaide.