The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) MH-60 Romeo maritime helicopter has carried out night training operation to hone their deck landing skills.
The recent practice was conducted aboard the lead Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Hobart in the North Pacific Ocean.
It was performed as part of the vessel and MH-60R helicopter’s recent regional presence deployment.
According to the MH-60R crew, landing of an aircraft at a ‘pitching and rolling’ vessel during night-time requires a lot of teamwork and continuous training.
RAN pilot lieutenant Rhiannon Thompson said: “It was a very dark night with no moon and strong winds.
“You need to be scanning physically with your eyes very quickly through all of those things to get that information into your head to digest it, to then translate that into your hands and feet to move the helicopter.”
The training activity required the involved aircrew members to wear night vision goggles.
The entire process of approaching the warship during the operation involved the two aircrew members to look outside the aircraft, while simultaneously scanning different instruments to monitor information, such as the speed, height, heading and the rate of descent.
RAN aviation warfare officer sub-lieutenant Alexander McLauchlan said: “I have to monitor the mission and make sure we achieve what we need to do, whether that is finding and deterring a submarine or surface vessel.”
The helicopter aboard Hobart-class vessel is marshalled and maintained by a team of 13 personnel, who guide the aircrew with landing.