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May 23, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
exercises and ship-to-shore navigational exercises.
Aviation operations also included day and night flying
as well as helicopter in-flight refuelling for hot turn-
arounds as well as winch transfer training,” he said.
These exercises helped qualify a number of air-
crew as well as helicopter control officers, flight deck
marshallers and flight deck teams.
“The exercises have brought the ship and flight up to
speed on ship-aviation operations,” LCDR Sime said.
“The flight integrated well with ship, using the
temporary air shelter to conduct their maintenance and
servicing to keep the aircraft in a ready state.”
LCDR Sime said while Choules was different to
the future LHDs, there had been plenty of lessons
learnt in regards to operating the MRH-90, including
maintaining, storing and preparing the aircraft while
embarked and the ship coordinating with the aircraft
during various flying operations.
“The past three weeks have been very successful
and a major stepping stone for both the MRH-90 oper-
ating at sea and Choules embarking an aviation asset,”
One of Choules’ flight deck marshallers, LSATA
Michael Nowill, gained valuable experience operating
with the MRH-90 and the Black Hawks, while ships
aviation officer LCDR John Sime qualified as a Grade
2 Helicopter Control Officer.
The MRH-90 also featured in a casualty evacu-
ation exercise that saw ABML-C Caitlin Hutcheon
stretchered from the galley to Poseidon 14 after a
damage control exercise.
Another feature of the amphibious exercise was the
cooperation between the Ship’s Army Detachment and
sailors who operated an Army bridge erecting propul-
sion barge to push Choules’ mexeflote into position on
the beach on Herald Island during manoeuvre trials.
LSBM Nathan Hardwicke said “it was great to get
back in the water and put all those skills into practice”.
ROLE PLAY: Above and right, ABML-C Caitlin
Hutcheon, a ‘casualty’ from the galley fire exercise, gets
loaded onto the embarked MRH-90 during a casualty
the MRH-90 for
on the flight deck
of HMAS Choules.
IN PRACTICE: Above, HMAS Choules’ sea boat is hoisted from the water after a man
overboard exercise. Left, Choules spare hands point out the ‘man’ in the water.
ON THE JOB: LSCSO Matthew Limb, left above, is closed up in the operations room, while ABET Sam Paton, centre, checks the
continuity of a main broadcast speaker in the electronics technician’s workshop and ABML-P Elise Fisher, right, works in the ship’s office.
Photos: ABIS Jayson Tufrey
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