The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) last S 70B-2 Seahawk ‘Bravo’ naval combat helicopter has conducted its final flight before being gifted to the Australian War Memorial (AWM).
Before its decommissioning, the aircraft carried out its last flight over the Australian Defence Force Academy, Defence’s Russell Offices, Parliament House and the AWM before landing in Exhibition Park in Canberra, Australia.
Australian Defence Personnel Minister Dan Tehan said: “The Bravo served with distinction in Operation Damask during the first Gulf War, Operations Relex and Resolute for border protection duties and most recently, Operations Slipper and Manitou in the Middle East.”
Tehan further said that the naval combat helicopter has served the country for nearly three decades in demanding maritime environments.
The Australian S 70B-2 Seahawk aircraft has been replaced by the newest version of the Seahawk helicopter, known as the MH-60R ‘Romeo’, developed by Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky.
The RAN so far has received 24 MH-60R helicopters to replace 16 units of the Bravo aircraft.
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Australian Navy chief vice-admiral Tim Barrett said: “The Bravo is one of the most reliable and capable maritime aircraft.
“Many of our pilots, air crews and maintainers have worked on this platform, ensuring it provided 29 years of exceptional service to the Navy.
“From the very beginning, these aircraft were operationally deployed and proved their value time and time again.”
The last S 70B-2 Seahawk was deployed with the Australian Navy in 1988.
With its final flight, the helicopter will now be physically preserved at AWM where the curators of the memorial will carry out an oral history project to record the stories and experiences of the pilots who flew the aircraft.