The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Canberra (L02) has successfully taken aboard a US Marine Corps’ (USMC) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for the first time.
The MV-22 Osprey deck trial was conducted as part of high end war fighting exercises during the Sea Phase of the ongoing Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 16 in Hawaiian waters.
HMAS Canberra commander air commander Adrian Capner said that the trial was a result of year-long work to demonstrate the ability of the Australian fleet to interact and operate with its coalition partners.
Capner said: “It also shows that we can adapt and remain agile to operate a whole range of international aircraft, not just aircraft in the Australian fleet.”
As part of the trial, the Osprey flew several hundred kilometres from the US Navy landing helicopter amphibious, USS America, which was stationed off the east coast of Oahu, to reach HMAS Canberra.
Leading Seaman Aviation Support Michael Wenzell said: “Directing such a large aircraft to land and take off was daunting at first.
“Once we got it on-board and sized it up, it was excellent.
“We treated it just like any other aircraft.”
Built by Bell Boeing, the 17.5m-long MV-22 Osprey has a wingspan of 14m, can operate at a speed of 446km at sea level and has a range of more than 1,600km. It can carry up to 32 troops or 9,000kg of internal cargo.
Image: A USMC MV-22B Osprey aircraft takes off from the flight deck of HMAS Canberra. Photo: courtesy of LSIS Helen Frank / Royal Australian Navy.