Under an agreement that strengthens an international alliance, the Royal Australian Navy accepted its first two submarine-hunting MH-60 Romeo helicopters on Dec. 10, 2013. Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy responded to the Australian Defence Force’s need for a fleet of new-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft with the proven sensors and systems aboard the helicopter. Continue reading
One hundred years after the Australian’s first fleet of seven cruisers and destroyers sailed into the Sydney Harbour, the nation is hosting the International Fleet Review to celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy. As a part of the Pacific International Maritime Exposition, naval institutions from around the globe embarked on the journey to the Sydney Harbour, where more than 40 warships and 16 tall ships participated in the fleet review.
Just two short months after the RAN celebrates its 100-year anniversary, Lockheed Martin will deliver the first mission-ready MH-60R helicopters to the RAN. These four helicopters will be the inaugural installment to the fleet that will contain 24 new-generation multi-role naval combat aircraft by 2016.
The U.S. Navy’s MH-60 “Romeo” donned a new addition to its side when it took to the sky for flight testing this summer. Skippy, the signature kangaroo that designates the N48-001 helicopter as belonging to the RAN posed proudly on the MH-60R as a token to the partnership that promises international maritime excellence.
The MH-60R is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine (ASW)/Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, and equipped with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST), the MH-60R is capable of detecting and prosecuting modern submarines in littoral and open ocean scenarios. Secondary missions include electronic support measures, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, and medical evacuation.
In June 2011, the Commonwealth of Australia became the first international customer to procure the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk by selecting the multi-mission helicopter to fulfill the Australian Defence Force’s AIR 9000 Phase 8 requirement for a fleet of 24 new-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft.
While many of us are planning our summer vacations, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and the Malaysian armed forces are engaged in a joint military exercise called the Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training, or CARAT, in the South China Sea. The ten day event is about collaboration and communication – and the MH-60R Romeo helicopter gets to play a featured role.
The Romeo arrived aboard the littoral combat ship USS Freedom, who is participating in CARAT for the first time. Freedom and the USS Tortuga conducted an amphibious assault exercise, with the MH-60R providing aerial support to sailors acting as safety observers in an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB). The MH-60R aircraft participating in CARAT is assigned to the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73, who are deployed aboard Freedom as part of the “Gold’ crew of 91 sailors. A U.S. Navy article quoted HSM 73 pilot Lt. Mike Roselli, who participated in the event. “It was a good proof of concept for LCS and the squadron of the capabilities we could provide to the mission. The Romeo was able to provide maritime support to the amphibious force. We could, if needed, provide Hellfire [missiles], torpedoes or a Search and Rescue swimmer.”
The U.S. Navy describes CARAT as “a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.” Continuing through June 23, CARAT Malaysia 2013 consists of ten days of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security concerns, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces. Participation in the CARAT exercise series is among the key milestones during Freedom’s maiden rotational deployment to Southeast Asia.
For updates and photos, “Like” the CARAT page on Facebook.
STRAITS OF SINGAPORE (June 12, 2013) Boatswains Mate 1st Class Tony Rodriguez assigned to USS Freedom (LCS 1) waves a MH-60R Seahawk from embarked Maritime Strike Squadron 73 off the flight deck. Freedom is underway conducting sea trials in preparation for Cooperation Afloat Training Malaysia, an annual naval exercise series between the United States and nine partner nations in the Southeast Asia region. Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom is homeported in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cassandra Thompson/Released)
The Australia Navy News recently featured an article titled “Modern-Day Romeo,” that follows the journey of the first Australian Romeo, which just traveled from Sikorsky’s facility in Troy, Alabama, to Stratford, Connecticut. The last step in the journey will be Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York, where the mission systems will be integrated aboard the aircraft.
In the article, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Captain Scott Lockey interviewed fellow RAN officer Commander Nyree Cornelius, who described her excitement at watching the Romeo come to life. Cornelius said the aircraft is no longer just the “selected solution,” it is a reality. “Inspecting the first RAN Romeo on completion of its first stage of production is a memory I will no doubt treasure, and spin yarns about, for years to come,” she told Lockey. “The DMO, CDG, RAN, U.S. Navy and its contractors have been working hard since the government approved this acquisition.”
Lockheed Martin’s Common Cockpit avionics suite is also featured in the article. The 400th Common Cockpit will be installed on the first RAN aircraft. Andrew Roach, of the Air 9000 Phase 8 Resident Project Team, described his first encounter with the cockpit. “It was a clear reflection of the advancement in avionic systems since the days of the S-70B-2…when the system is powered up and operating, it is then you can really begin to appreciate the next generation and cockpit design. Clearly the cockpit is all about operating and fighting the Seahawk Romeo and it sensors and weapons. It will also provide an important tool for maintenance to access and assess the many onboard systems.”
The re-commissioning of 725 Squadron
The first MH-60R helicopters to fly for the Royal Australian Navy will do so under the colors of the 725 Squadron, which was formed more than 50 years ago. The historical squadron was a fleet requirements unit when it formed in August 1943. The squadron became an air target towing unit two years later and then disbanded in December 1945.
In January 1958, 725 Squadron re-emerged as a RAN fleet requirements and communications unit at Naval Air Station Nowra, Australia, and operated a varied fleet of aircraft including the Douglas C-47A Dakota, Auster J5-G Autocar, Hawker Sea Fury Mark IIs, Fairey Firefly AS-5s and the Fairey Gannet AS1s.
In 1959, the squadron’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission emerged when it was designated a training squadron for the mission. In the ensuing years, the squadron performed tasks such as radar and communications calibration exercises and air interception practice for officers going through warfare training. In February 1964, an Australian aircraft carrier collided with a destroyer in one of the most tragic accidents in Australian naval history. 725 squadron was there to perform search and rescue efforts.
The squadron was commissioned, de-commissioned, and re-commissioned, over a period of decades – its last active date was December 1975. The rebirth this year of the 725 squadron as the home of the MH-60R Romeo is a celebration of a rich and storied history in Australian naval history, and the start of an exciting new chapter.
By Lt. Kevin Wendt
Jacksonville Air News, April 26, 2013
Sailors from NAS Jacksonville joined with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) 725 Squadron on April 25 to commemorate ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
“In 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey,” explained Cmdr. David Frost, commanding officer of RAN 725 Squadron. “The ANZAC force landed on Gallipoli on April 25 and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war became a stalemate – and dragged on for eight months.”
At the end of 1915, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties, allied forces were evacuated. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. April 25 soon became the day on which Australians and New Zealanders remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.
At the end of the Second World War, ANZAC Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in that war. In subsequent years, ANZAC Day has been further broadened to include Australians killed in all the military operations in which Australia has been involved.
The commemoration at NAS Jacksonville began at 8 a.m. with a “gunfire breakfast“ (including black coffee laced with rum) at Mulligan’s Restaurant. The official ceremony took place at 10 a.m. in the VP-30 Auditorium beginning with a short video filled with interviews from survivors of Gallipoli.
Speaking on behalf of his squadron in remembrance of those who bravely served, Frost said, “We don’t remember ANZAC day as a victory or for some glorification of the horrors of war. We remember ANZAC day as a testament to the human spirit possessed in those who have fought and died.”
Capt. Mark Stevens, commanding officer of VP-30, closed with warm statements emphasizing the friendship that Americans have enjoyed with Australia and New Zealand.
“I have been extremely proud to have had the honor to serve with service members from Australia and New Zealand. We have been close allies and friends for many years, and I hope we will continue that close relationship for many more years to come,” said Stevens.
In the mid-1970s NASA astronaut Fred Gregory advised Space Shuttle managers to talk to the agency’s aeronautics experts after he learned that the Atlantis cockpit was slated for an update. NASA conducted research on displays that could process the raw aircraft system and flight data into an integrated, easily understood picture of the flight situation, culminating in a series of flights demonstrating a full glass cockpit system.
Borrowing from the work done by NASA and commercial airlines, Lockheed Martin developed the Common Cockpit avionics suite for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60 SEAHAWK helicopter program.
Today (Feb. 25), it will bring the 400th Common Cockpit to the Royal Australian Navy via the MH-60 Romeo helicopter program. Lockheed Martin delivered the first MH-60 Common Cockpit avionics suite in 2002 when U.S. Navy MH-60 Sierra helicopters became operational. Continue reading
Navy accepts delivery of its newest multi-mission helicopter during a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s New York facility
The U.S. Navy received the first of its planned 300 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in 2007. In late January, the Navy accepted its 150th MH-60R during a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Owego, N.Y.
But don’t confuse the two. Today’s MH-60R is not the same as the one that came off the factory floor a little over five years ago.
“Yes, this aircraft is the most technically advanced multi-mission helicopter in the world,” said Lt. Commander Holly Hoxsie in a Jan. 31 WICZ.com story. “The best way to maybe describe it is (like comparing) an older video game to the newer ones where I’m able to do everything easily from the cockpit.”
Following the ceremony, which was attended by approximately 350 people including Congressman Tom Reed of New York, Hoxsie flew the Navy’s newest MH-60R to San Diego, where it will be based.
“The sensor suit[e] that we have on this aircraft is really world class so it allows the Navy unprecedented capability to identify adversaries at sea for both anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare,” said Tom Kane, director of Lockheed Martin’s naval helicopter program, in the WICZ.com story.
In addition to its anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities, the helicopter also performs search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, medical evacuation and communications and data relay missions.
Lockheed Martin provides the digital cockpit common to the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters, while Sikorsky manufactures the airframe. The companies have co-developed and delivered helicopters for the Navy for more than 35 years.
Also during the Jan. 31 ceremony, Lockheed Martin rolled out its 400th common cockpit, which will be installed in the first MH-60R being built for Australia. In 2011, Australia announced that it planned to purchase 24 MH-60Rs through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program to replace its Navy’s 16 existing S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters, which entered service in the late 1980s.