The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has commissioned the 725 Squadron, which will operate as the training unit for the new ‘Romeo’ MH-60R Seahawk.
The formal induction of the squadron and its aircraft into the fleet took place in a ceremony at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales.
Australia Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said: "The MH-60R provides navy with advanced anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface capabilities through the use of a sophisticated sensor suite, torpedoes and air-to-surface missiles.
"This will increase navy’s versatility and potency as a high-end fighting force."
Australia has invested $3.2bn to procure 24 Seahawk Romeo helicopters for its navy. A total of eleven aircraft have been accepted into service so far.
The latest development marks the fourth commissioning of 725 Squadron, which was initially formed in 1943, into the Australian Navy.
Australian Fleet commander rear admiral Stuart Mayer said: "Now 725 Squadron, and in the future 816 Squadron, will take this very capable aircraft even further and will join with the surface and subsurface elements of the fleet in forming a networked sea control team."
The US Navy recently delivered two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to RAN, marking the halfway point for the US Navy’s foreign military sales agreement with the Australia for training and production of MH-60R helicopters.
Later this year, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 and RAN squadron 725 will test MH-60R modifications based on RAN requirements, including the addition of an instrument landing system and a crash-survivable data recorder.
Image: Squadron’s 723, 816 and 808 conduct a flypast to welcome 725 Squadron back into the Fleet Air Arm. Photo: courtesy of Royal Australian Navy.