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July 5, 2012
LEUT Tony White
SEAHAWKS typically car ry an
all-weather tag during their mis-
sions, but crews weren't expect-
ing the weather they faced when
816SQN arrived on an Air Force
C-17-A Globemaster for the Tamex
anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
exercise off Perth in June.
The storms hit during the mid-
dle of the exercise, requiring some
sorties to be cancelled and others
Some Navy members also
helped out with storm relief follow-
ing the equivalent of a category two
The storm left 160,000 hous-
es without power, saw a mini tor-
nado damage parts of Perth, and
produced fronts that had civilian
authorities urging their employees
to go home early.
Exercise planners factored in
mountains of meteorological data
as they plotted out a program that
was designed to safely but surely
test their planning skills, as much as
those of air and ground crews.
Navy's 'submarine killers' then
prepared for an anti-submarine
exercise that would test the fly-
ing skills of Navy pilots and their
integration with both Air Force
AP-3Cs and the US Navy's new
P8-A Poseidon aircraft, set to
replace the existing P3 Orion.
The USN and RAAF aircraft
joined the Seahawks to provide
ASW su rveillance and interdiction
that brought a new level of tech-
nology and warfighting capability.
CO 816SQN CMDR Grant
O'Loughlan described the exercise
as a step up in intensity for squad-
ron personnel that would ser ve
them well in any future actual
"Our Navy members were
doing a great job in storm recov-
ery but the thing about training
for warlike activities is that they
can occur in any weather," CMDR
"Our air and ground crews
need to be fully prepared for fast
turnarounds in the middle of the
hunt for a hostile submarine, so
they are in and out and refuelled
and rearmed in the fastest, yet saf-
est manner possible.
"Sure some of the f lying weath-
er was rough, but the whole point
of this type of exercise is to get
our members up to speed within
the safety and mission effective-
ness parameters that are expected
CMDR O'Loughlan said while
f lying at 200 feet above the ocean
searching for a hostile sub in rough
weather was not for everyone,
Seahawk crews demonstrated they
knew how to do it well and safely
over the course of Tamex.
"Anti-submarine warfare is at
the higher end of the ADF's techni-
cal capability and combined with
the new capability provided by the
US Navy over the course of this
activity, the Australian people can
be entirely confident we are fully
capable of operating at that higher
end," he said.
SKILLS SHARING: LSATV Michael Evans and ABATV Nathan Sharpe
prepare to load the counter-measure dispenser system into a Seahawk.
Photos: ABIS Alan Lancaster
TAKE-OFF: A 816SQN Seahawk from the
Helicopter Support Facility, HMAS Stirling,
hovers above the tarmac before a sortie to
launch sonar buoys and search for submarines
during the anti-submarine exercise Tamex 12-2
in Perth, WA. Despite the rough weather, Air
Force, Navy and US Navy pilots honed their
flying skills and warfighting capability during
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