The Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide (L01) conducted Aviation Support training with an embarked MRH-90 helicopter from 808 Squadron, dubbed ‘Poseidon 29’ for a week off the east coast of Australia.
The vessel was joined by trainees from HMAS Albatross and their instructors for the training. The training marked the first time Aviation Support training has been conducted at sea and the first time an all-female team has secured an aircraft on deck in the Royal Australia Navy.
Following a day of flight deck safety briefs, the trainees spent time becoming familiar with lashings and how to secure an aircraft to the deck upon landing. Much of the week was spent successfully carrying out day and night launches and recoveries of Poseidon 29, conducting vertical replenishment (VERTREP) of stores and transferring personnel by winch.
The trainees were also able to observe first-hand night time flying operations by two Black Hawk helicopters from Army’s 6th Aviation Regiment.
Commander Air HMAS Adelaide, Commander Stuart Baily said the trainees benefitted from training in an active environment at sea.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for all the trainees to experience life at sea on a busy platform like HMAS Adelaide,” he said. “Despite some initial apprehension about working beneath a ‘turning and burning’ aircraft and being at sea for the first time, they adapted well and worked as a team. They completed all required competencies and transitioned from nervous students ‘under the disc’, to very confident Aviation Support sailors, operating day and night in a multi-spot operational environment.”
Aviation Support sailors secure and oversee all aircraft ground handling on flight lines ashore and at sea on the flight deck of Navy’s two biggest ships, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra (L02).
HMAS Adelaide is capable of launching six helicopters simultaneously from her flight deck and can carry an additional 12 in her hanger.