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February 14, 2013
UP AND RUNNING: Project Director Air 9000 Phase 8 MH-60R CAPT Scott Lockey with CO
NUSQN725 CMDR David Frost.
Photo: POIS Ollie Garside
NUSQN heads to Florida
CPL Max Bree
THE New Fleet Air Arm helicopter training
squadron to operate the MH-60R Romeo
helicopters has been announced as 725SQN.
In line with naming tradition, the squad-
ron will be known as NUSQN725 until its
anticipated commissioning in early 2015.
What makes this project even more excit-
ing for the squadron's aircrew and maintain-
ers is they will start forming in America in
coming weeks and work alongside the US
Navy training on the new choppers.
The squadron will undergo a year of
classroom training and on-the-job experi-
ence working with different USN units,
followed by a year of flying RAN aircraft
in the US.
CO NUSQN725 CMDR David Frost
said the first group would complete its train-
ing just before the first two Navy aircraft
are accepted in December this year.
At this point the squadron will start fly-
ing from Jacksonville Naval Air Station in
"Flying our own aircraft out of
Jacksonville gives us the ideal opportunity
to build up our expertise and experience
under the watchful eyes of experienced
USN Romeo operators," CMDR Frost said.
Aircrew start training with the USN this
month with the maintainers set to begin in
Another 56 aircrew and maintainers
will start the same training cycle mid-year,
bringing the squadron numbers up to 112.
"The US Navy is training all of our air-
crew and maintainers on these new aircraft,"
CMDR Frost said. "And we have slotted
straight into its huge training system."
For one while the adventure is exciting,
it is a tad untimely, again.
Despite his wife expecting a baby girl
next month, LS Ben Elliott is heading to
Jacksonville on March 8 with the first group
"My two-year-old was born when I was
in the Middle East," he said. "So my wife
and kids will probably join me in the States
"She's excited, but she's used to the
"As soon as she has the flights she'll be
over the moon."
About half the maintainers head-
ing to the US are qualified on the Classic
Seahawks with a large number also coming
from the retired Sea Kings, according to LS
"Those of us lucky enough to be selected
are ecstatic. Really, everyone can't wait to
get there that's for sure.
"We're all excited but it's a little bit of
an unknown working with the Americans,
they do maintenance a little bit differently
to how we do maintenance."
NUSQN725 will return to Australia with
its new choppers in early 2015 when they
will be commissioned and finally known as
725SQN will be the operational training
squadron, while 816SQN, currently operat-
ing the S-70B-2 Seahawk, will transition
to the Romeos as the operational support
Australia is the first foreign buyer of
the Romeos, offering the latest in anti-
submarine and surface sensors and weap-
ons, including the Mk 54 torpedo and the
Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.
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