Army helicopter crews flying three different aircraft types have been training to land on the deck of HMAS Adelaide in time for summer and the potential for natural disasters.
CAPTION: Able Seaman Lily Hardin waves off an Army ARH-Tiger as it takes off from the deck of HMAS Adelaide near Townsville during Exercise Sea Wader. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel. Story by Lieutenant Geoff Long.
The landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide is the Navy’s high-readiness vessel and is available to support humanitarian and disaster-relief operations domestically and in the region.
A CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, an MRH-90 Taipan and an ARH Tiger operated concurrently on Adelaide’s flight deck during the training exercises conducted off the coast of Townsville at the end of October as part of Exercise Sea Wader.
HMAS Adelaide’s air operations officer Major Sacheen Gallop said the deck landings and joint training were essential for aircrew to maintain their skills and competency requirements.
“Army aviation teams have most recently worked alongside their Navy counterparts in Operation Bushfire Assist and, as we move into the high-risk weather season, the deck-landing qualifications will allow for more aviation assets to operate off Adelaide,” Major Gallop said.
Crews from Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment, based in Darwin, and 5th Aviation Regiment, from Townsville, took part in the training, maintaining their qualifications to land on Navy’s largest warship.
Commanding Officer 5th Aviation Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Martin said the training enabled the helicopter crews to be ready for any operations in the region or to respond to disasters.
Lieutenant Commander Adam Wells, of HMAS Adelaide, said the deck landings provided a valuable opportunity for the ship’s aviation support team.
“We have a lot of trainees at the moment, so they were able to be exposed to new types of aircraft that they don’t always see,” he said.
The latest deck-landing training on Adelaide with Army followed a similar exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47, who also successfully qualified their aircrew over two days of flight training off the coast of Townsville.
Singapore’s CH-47 aircraft worked alongside Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment during the bushfire emergency in Victoria earlier this year.
Adelaide is hosting the Australian Amphibious Task Group in far-north Queensland as part of Exercise Sea Wader, which began on October 24 and ends on November 8.