Helicopter aircrew training system

April 1, 2019 – The Australian Defence Force’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) has successfully achieved Initial Operating Capability. Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the training system was designed to prepare Navy and Army aircrew for transition into Defence’s complex combat helicopters. “Following successful testing of the individual aircrew training courses throughout 2018, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan declared the conditions had been met for Initial Operating Capability,” Minister Pyne said. “The training system, operating from 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW,…

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RAN Commissions 822X Squadron to Operate UAS

October 25, 2018 – Today’s commissioning ceremony at HMAS Albatross marked a major milestone in the Royal Australian Navy’s capability to operate unmanned aerial systems in the maritime domain. The ceremony marked the formal transition of the Naval Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit (NUASU) to 822X Squadron making it the fourth operational Squadron in the RAN Fleet Air Arm. Over the past decade, modern militaries have embraced the strategic and tactical advantages offered by operating unmanned platforms which are typically used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The Squadron will operate the…

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Joint helicopter school starts training at HMAS Albatross

The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army have joined forces with industry to train rotary wing crews at a new joint helicopter school as part of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System. The first intake of 37 future pilots, aircrew and Aviation Warfare Officers commenced the 26-week training course this week at a new dedicated facility at HMAS Albatross. Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, said the establishment of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System within 723 Squadron represents a major step forward for next-generation military helicopter training. “The ongoing partnership…

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Ready to support the disaster season

While many personnel are enjoying well-earned family time over the Christmas/New Year period, some members of 808 Squadron at HMAS Albatross will be on alert as the Operational Readiness Squadron for this period. Two MRH90 helicopter crews will be on standby, should the need arise, to provide Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in response to bushfires, floods, cyclones or other emergencies. MRH90 pilot Lieutenant Commander Colin McLeod says the members of 808 Squadron are well prepared. “Bambi Bucket training has provided pilots and aircrewman with a basic understanding of how…

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Final flight of the S-70B-2 Seahawk

Minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan said the last S 70B-2 Seahawk ‘Bravo’ naval combat helicopter made its final flight today before being gifted to the Australian War Memorial (AWM). The Seahawk’s final flight went over the Australian Defence Force Academy, Defence’s Russell Offices, Parliament House and the AWM before landing in Exhibition Park in Canberra. Mr Tehan said the Seahawk had served in operations across the globe and had contributed to the safety and security of our nation. “The Bravo served with distinction in Operation Damask during the first…

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Historic helicopter captured for Memorial

With the retirement of the Australian Navy’s Seahawk Bravo S-70B-2 helicopter from service scheduled for 1 December, aircraft 872 (fondly known as ‘Christine’) will be taking up a new home at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. In the lead up to her big move the Memorial Senior Curator, Stephanie Boyle, visited HMAS Albatross to interview personnel who had a close association with both Christine and the Seahawk Bravo. The interviews will contribute to the Memorial’s extensive Oral History Collection and a broad mix of participation and perspectives were sought.…

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Aviation training facilities tested

The Navy’s newest aviation capability has been stretching her wings off the eastern seaboard, with the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit conducting first of class flight trials with the EC-135 helicopter in aviation training vessel, MV Sycamore. The trials are an important step in developing the safe limits for operations of a specific helicopter to a particular class of ship, commonly known as a ships helicopter operating limits or by the term, ‘SHOL’. This trial was also the first time any aircraft has operated from Sycamore, thus allowing her…

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MINDEF takes flight at Albatross

Member for Gilmore Ms Ann Sudmalis MP, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Defence, Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commander Chris Smallhorn RAN, and CO HMAS Albatross Captain Fiona Sneath, RAN. March 25, 2017 – Minister of Defence, The Hon. Marise Payne, and the local member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis inspected the progress of the $157 million Helicopter Aircrew Training System and the Fleet Air Arm’s operational 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross recently. Since its beginning in September 2015 the Training System facility has developed considerably with the majority of infrastructure now underway.…

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New Helicopter Aircrew Training System at HMAS Albatross

March 17, 2017 – Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis MP, today inspected progress in the development of a $157 million Helicopter Aircrew Training System at 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross. Minister Payne said the project will provide state of the art training facilities for Navy and Army aviators. “The new Helicopter Aircrew Training System will provide streamlined initial pilot training in a highly realistic environment for our Navy and Army personnel,” Minister Payne said. “As part of the training system, 15…

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Danes try Navy HATS on for size

February 16, 2017 – The Royal Australian Navy’s reputation for delivering world-class training received a boost when five members of the Royal Danish Navy visited HMAS Albatross to learn how the Fleet Air Arm teaches pilots and aircrew. Led by Commander Aksel Primdahl, the group studied the Australian experience of introducing the MH-60R Seahawk and integrating it into the Fleet. The delegation visited the state-of-the-art Helicopter Aircrew Training System (also known as HATS) facility, which will include three full-flight simulators and 15 EC-135 training helicopters when operational next year. Commander of the facility, Commander Bruce Willington,…

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