Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and the member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis have announced the commissioning of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) first of two MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo' flight simulators into service.
The new development is part of $3.2bn investment that will deliver 24 new Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopters.
The Seahawk Romeo helicopters are on track to achieve an initial operational capability at sea by August this year.
The system includes two full motion flight simulators and a wide range of sophisticated maintenance trainers. This is expected to enable Australian Navy's Seahawk Romeo crews to safely train across a wide range of operational and mission related training scenarios.
As part of this new Seahawk Romeo programme, more than 100 long-term jobs will be created in the Shoalhaven area.
With these simulators, crews will be trained for advanced maritime combat operations from RAN ships all over the world.
The second simulator is expected to be delivered in 2016.
In February this year, the RAN started the first class flight trials (FOCFT) of its Seahawk Romeo helicopter aboard the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Perth, in Cruiser Wharf, Garden Island, Sydney.
The trials included the movement of ship and helicopter between Tasmania and North Queensland. The RAN will also test the ship and helicopter in a range of weather and climate conditions.
The Western Australian-based HMAS Perth, which will be operating on the East Coast for the trials, recently received several upgrades to support the new aircraft.
Image: MH 60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopter lands on HMAS Perth at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney. Photo: courtesy of the Commonwealth of Australia.