The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) newly commissioned guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart has successfully carried out deck handling trials using a latest MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter.
The ‘Guided Missile Destroyer and MH-60R Seahawk Deck Handling Trial’ was conducted at the Oiler Wharf, Garden Island, Sydney.
It was overseen by the Australian Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance And Flight Trials Unit.
Aero-systems testing officer lieutenant Chris Prescott said: “The partnering of the MH-60R Seahawk and destroyer brings about an unprecedented level of capability for the RAN.
“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.”
The navy had been planning for the trial using the 816 Squadron’s Romeo Flight 6 on-board HMAS Hobart since May.
The trial included an aircraft approach, landing and subsequent launch, in addition to the testing of the new aircraft-ship integrated secure and traverse system, which is designed to provide assistance during the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter’s straightening and traversing in and out of the hangar.
It was conducted alongside Garden Island in order to minimise the various risks associated with aircraft landing at sea.
The drill also included flight deck clearance assessments, communications and lighting, chain lashing patterns, fuel connections and hangar clearance for maintenance and damage control.
The Defence Aviation Safety Authority is expected to provide the RAN vessel with an Aviation Facilities Certification following the trial’s completion.
HMAS Hobart is slated to return to sea with an MH-60R helicopter on-board early next year in order to continue trials and aid the development of safe Ship Helicopter Operating Limits.
The keel for HMAS Hobart was originally laid on 6 September 2012 and the vessel was launched on 23 May 2015.