The Royal Austalian Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance And Flight Trials Unit has conducted preliminary deck handling trials between a 816 Squadron Romeo Flight 6 MH-60R Seahawk landing on board the new Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs), HMAS Hobart, in Sydney Harbour.
In the planning since May, the first-of-class trial began on 7 November alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, in order to reduce the risks associated with landing at sea, and included an approach, landing, and subsequent launch of Seahawk Romeo N48-013.
“It may seem like a benign task and landing on ships at sea is something we do all the time,” Aero-systems testing officer Lieutenant Chris Prescott told the Navy Daily.
“But in this trial we’re dealing with a brand new helicopter and a brand new ship.”
The trial included testing of the new Aircraft-Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse system for the helicopter’s straightening and traversing in and out of the hangar – the first time the system has been used in an Australian warship.
There was also flight deck clearance assessments, communications and lighting, chain lashing patterns, fuel connections and hangar clearance for maintenance and damage control.
The Romeo carried a dummy Mk54 Torpedo for preliminary review.
“The partnering of the MH-60R Seahawk and destroyer brings about an unprecedented level of capability for the Royal Australian Navy,” said Lieutenant Prescott.
“Both platforms are at the forefront of technology and usher in a new era of interoperability, within the Australian Navy and with the militaries of allied nations.”
On completion of the trials, the Defence Aviation Safety Authority will issue the destroyer with an Aviation Facilities Certification before HMAS Hobart returns to sea early in 2018 with an MH-60R helicopter embarked in order to continue trials and develop safe Ship Helicopter Operating Limits.