A visiting US Army AH-64E Apache stopped by to say “howdy” to HMAS Canberra in Sydney last week, taking the opportunity to conduct a series of deck-based training activities.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Avation Support Alyssa Clark marshalls a US Army AH-64E Apache on the deck of HMAS Canberra while the ship is alongside at Fleet Base East in Sydney. Story and photos by Petty Officer Helen Frank.
The US Apache was in transit to the Australian International Airshow 2023 in Avalon, Victoria, presenting Army and Navy personnel with an ideal training opportunity ahead of the arrival of Australia’s AH-64E Apache fleet in 2025.
Major Daniel Tidd from Army Aviation’s Command Battlefield Aviation Program was on board to witness the training after months of coordination.
“The activity has given our joint force the opportunity to learn about how to operate the Apache in a barracks environment as well as an at-sea environment,” he said.
“This opportunity is the result of extensive bilateral engagement and joint force planning over many months.”
The sight of the US Apache was a rare treat for the crew remaining on board while Canberra is alongside at Fleet Base East.
Canberra’s Commander Air Commander Roy Watson was excited to see the aircraft arrive.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Avation Support Alyssa Clark marshalls the AH-64E Apache on board HMAS Canberra.
“Seeing the aircraft land has been the result of months of work from many, many different agencies,” Commander Watson said.
“For myself, it comes with great personal satisfaction to see it actually come to fruition.”
Meanwhile, viewing Sydney Harbour from the air was a delight for the US Apache aircrew.
Chief Warrant Officer Fourth Class Chris Duquet said it was an enjoyable mission.
“It’s great working with the Australians and I’ve really enjoyed the partnership,” Chief Warrant Officer Duquet said.
“You’ve got a beautiful countryside.
“It was great getting to see some of that and, overall, it’s just been a great experience.”
CAPTION: Commander Surface Force Commodore Terry Morrison speaks with Australian and American Army members in front of an AH-64E Apache on board HMAS Canberra.
Training included a landing and take-off serial, general deck handling, refuelling serials and Navy and Army future integration opportunities.
“We’re really excited about the outcomes of this training – it represents a significant milestone in developing our knowledge and interoperability as we progress towards Army’s operational Apache fleet in 2025,” Major Tidd said.
The US Apache continued its transit to the air show, where it joined a US Army UH-60M Black Hawk, as well as Australian Army helicopters on a static display.