October 15, 2020 – It was a first for the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm when MH-60R helicopters from 816 Squadron dropped and recovered two Mark 54 Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area.
While the Squadron achieved successful Mk 54 Recoverable Exercise Torpedo drops during a 2014 deployment to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre in Florida, this is the first time the weapon has been dropped and recovered in Australia.
Commanding Officer 816 Squadron, Commander Todd Glynn said the primary role of the MH-60R is to provide anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
“The technicians in 816 Squadron, many of whom have a number of operational deployments under their belts, were well prepared for the additional inspections and signatures required for such an activity, Commander Glynn said.
“The attention to detail needed by the Aircraft Technician Avionics sailors who prepared the torpedoes, was even more acute.”
The Mk 54 combines the advanced sonar transceiver of the Mk 50 torpedo with the legacy warhead and propulsion system of the older Mk 46 torpedo.
CMDR Glynn said the exercise contributed to deploying battleworthy flights.
“Combining the Mk 54 with the Romeo’s advanced acoustic systems situates Australia at the forefront of airborne anti-submarine warfare.” Commander Glynn said.
“Participating aircrew were required to utilise all the aircraft’s sensors to localise, track, and correctly classify the target prior to being given approval for the weapon release.”
“High end, Anti-Submarine Warfare skills need constant refinement, so aircrew were faced with some of most challenging run plans available on an Expendable Mobile Acoustic Training Target,” he said.
“The lessons identified from this and all our flying training is so important to delivering Australia a fighting navy.”