While the arrival of a helicopter on the deck of HMAS Choules would not normally be significant, a visit from friendly faces in Indian Chetak helicopter ‘Angel’, from INS Sahyadri, was a first for the ship.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Kendall Warner marshals an Indian Navy Chetak helicopter on board HMAS Choules during Exercise Malabar 2023, NSW. Story by Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Merigan. Photo by Leading Seaman David Cox.
Lieutenant Jason Burford, helicopter control officer and deputy maritime logistics officer on board Choules, was in charge of the activity, conducted as part of Exercise Malabar.
“My role is to coordinate the ship and the helicopter to ensure we maintain environmental factors so it can land safely,” Lieutenant Burford said.
“Receiving INS Sahyadri’s helicopter on deck was really exciting and something new for us.
“We’ve been working with Australian helicopters throughout Exercise Talisman Sabre prior to this exercise, so it was good to build our skills with a key international partner like India.
“Choules’ flight deck team is eager to get exposure to working with other nations and helicopters throughout Exercise Malabar.”
During the cross deck, Choules’ Commanding Officer Commander Ross Upton received a personal letter in a card and some baked goods from INS Sahyadri.
“We gave them a Choules physical training shirt, as we knew it was something they didn’t have, and hopefully they see it as being a part of our team,” Lieutenant Burford said.
Australia welcomed the opportunity to bring the officers and sailors of the navies of India, Japan and the United States together in Sydney to experience Australia and deepen relationships as part of Exercise Malabar.