Home' Navy News : May 12th 2011 Contents NAVY NEWS
May 12, 2011
A FULL diagnostic review of the
MRH-90 Multi Role Helicopter
Program has been completed.
The review was ordered in
February by Defence Minister Stephen
Smith and Defence Materiel Minister
Jason Clare to address delays to the
It was chaired by the Deputy Chief
Executive Officer of the Defence
Materiel Organisation Warren King,
who was supported by a number of
The review has recommended that
the project should not be added to the
Projects of Concern list at this time.
It has recommended that Defence
work with the contractor, Australian
Aerospace, to implement a remedia-
tion plan to improve the availability
of the helicopters by addressing engi-
neering and reliability issues.
The project will be the subject of
a further diagnostic review later this
year to examine the effectiveness of
the action taken and whether further
action is necessary.
The diagnostic review was ordered
to address delays to the project due to
a series of key issues including engine
failure, transmission oil cooler fan
failures and the poor availability of
As reported in both the Defence
Annual Report and the Australian
National Audit Office Major Project
Report released last year, the project
has suffered delays of 12 months for
the Navy's helicopters and 18 months
for the Army's helicopters.
To date, 13 MRH-90 helicopters
have been accepted by Defence and
are currently being used for testing
and initial crew training.
New plans for MRH-90
UNDER REVIEW: MRH-90
'Cobra 08' takes off from
the flight deck of HMAS
Manoora during the first of
class flight trials at sea.
Photo: LAC Christopher Dickson
By CPL Melanie Schinkel
ALTHOUGH counter-piracy is not
HMAS Stuart's primary mission in
the Middle East, she was recently
involved in two incidents concerning
suspected pirates including the inter-
diction of Al Shahar 75, as reported
in Navy News on April 28.
Counter-piracy patrols together
with maritime security and counter-
terrorism patrols are among the many
tasks HMA Ships conduct as part
of their Combined Maritime Forces
operations in the Middle East Area of
On the morning of April 11,
Stuart's crew were monitoring their
surrounds off the Horn of Africa when
they identified a suspicious Yemeni-
Stuart's boarding party of nine
interdicted the dhow and consequently
rescued three Yemeni crew members
who were being held hostage by 15
supposed Somali pirates.
The Commanding Officer of Stuart,
CMDR Brett Sonter, said a number
of indicators were considered before
the decision was made to approach Al
"Al Shahar 75 was identified as a
possible Yemeni fishing dhow. It had
a ladder and skiff on board, which
are common tools used by alleged
pirates," CMDR Sonter said.
"A key factor in determining
whether or not to board a foreign ves-
sel is the safety of my personnel and
that of the hostages that it may have
"After we saw Al Shahar 75 con-
duct suspicious activity with another
known pirated vessel, I gave the board-
ing party permission to proceed."
He said Al Shahar 75's boarding
started about 10.30am and that the
vessel was secured by the boarding
party within a matter of minutes.
"The boarding party performed
exceptionally well. No shots were
fired, so there was no threat to the
Yemeni crew members. Overall, the
operation was a complete success."
The OIC of Stuart's boarding party,
a lieutenant, said the boarding party
had conducted 11 boarding missions
during Stuart's deployment so far.
"Without warning, things can go
wrong very quickly. You can never get
complacent during a boarding -- you
must always expect the unexpected
and be on your guard," the lieutenant
"The safety of the boarding team is
always my chief concern because you
never know how far a desperate person
will go to avoid being captured or los-
ing control over a situation."
Once on board Al Shahar 75, the
boarding party discovered its crew had
been attacked and seized by assumed
pirates 20 days earlier.
"Once the suspected pirates real-
ised we were alongside the dhow and
moving on board, they quickly surren-
dered," the lieutenant said.
"Immediately, we separated the
assumed pirates from Al Shahar 75's
crew and located a weapons cache.
The crew seemed genuinely relieved
and grateful for our assistance."
During its search of the dhow, the
boarding party uncovered 11 AK-47
assault rifles with 16 magazines, a
large quantity of small-arms ammuni-
tion and a rocket-propelled grenade
launcher with a grenade. The weapons
were cleared, catalogued and safely
disposed of at sea.
The boarding party's OIC said the
mission was a success because Al
Shahar 75 and its crew were rescued
from an alleged act of piracy.
"Before boarding we knew there
was a risk of suspected well-armed
pirates being aboard. Fortunately, once
they realised they had lost control of
Al Shahar 75, they generally complied
with our directions."
After being provided with adequate
fuel, food, water and communica-
tions equipment, the suspected pirates
were released in their skiff to travel
to the nearest landfall off the coast of
Stuart safely escorted Al Shahar 75
and her crew away from the area.
(02) 6265 4650
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(02) 9359 2494
(02) 6266 7607
0414 552 667
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SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE
SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE
Navy The official newspaper of the Royal Australian Navy
LSIS Paul Berry
(02) 6266 7606
CPL Melanie Schinkel
(02) 6265 2427
Stuart's hostage rescue win for CMF ops
Editor's note: On page 2 of the April 28
edition, the email address in the article
'Defence reviews explained' was incor-
rect. The correct address is cultural.
CONTACT information for the
reviews into various aspects
of Defence culture has been
Details on the reviews can be
found at www.intranet.defence.
General information about the
reviews is also available from the
Reviews Secretariat at cultural.
A separate, independent review
by legal firm DLA Piper will assess
allegations of sexual and other
forms of abuse received since the
ADFA 'Skype' incident and make
recommendations on how these alle-
gations should be dealt with.
To preserve the option of offer-
ing information on a confidential
basis, it is important to contact the
team before submitting any infor-
Details on the reviews into aspects of
the culture of the ADF and Defence can
be found at www.intranet.defence.
For general information about the
reviews, contact the Reviews Secretariat
Review by Federal Sex
The Broderick reviews include:
Review of the treatment of women
Review of treatment of women in the
ADF more broadly
Review of pathways for women into
Review of use of alcohol in the ADF
Review of impact of social media
Review of personal conduct in the
Review of treatment of women in
Review of the management of
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call
1800 686 042.
To make allegations of sexual or
other forms of abuse
Until June 10, contact the inde-
pendent DLA Piper Review Team at
lipsfox.com or phone 1800 424 911
(Monday to Friday, 2-9pm AEST).
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