Home' Navy News : July 18th 2013 Contents 3
July 18, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
LEUT Andrew Herring
NAVY'S newest squadron --
808SQN -- was commissioned
into the Fleet Air Arm on July 11
in a traditional naval ceremony at
The ceremony also marked the
formal induction into the ADF air-
craft fleet of the MRH-90 Taipan
multirole helicopter, which will be
operated by both Navy and Army.
CDF GEN David Hurley, CN
VADM Ray Griggs, COMAUSFLT
RADM Tim Barrett, COMFAA
CDRE Vince Di Pietro and CO
808SQN CMDR Charlie Stephenson
attended the event, along with cur-
rent and former 808SQN personnel
and their families.
This significant milestone is the
culmination of three years of train-
ing, testing, development and trials
to bring this new generation, high-
tech aircraft into service and prepare
squadron personnel to operate it.
Navy will use the aircraft for the
maritime support role previously
carried out by the retired Sea Kings,
while Army will replace its Black
Hawks as a battlefield and special
operations support helicopter.
"Bringing a technologically
advanced aircraft into service is no
simple task but 808SQN person-
nel have worked tirelessly, together
with the Army and DMO, to reach
this milestone and I commend
them," RADM Barrett said.
808SQN originated as a Royal
Navy squadron and was last com-
missioned into the RAN during the
1950s when it operated fighter air-
craft from aircraft carriers HMA
Ships Sydney and Melbourne.
The re-commissioned 808SQN
inherits its predecessor's crest, bat-
tle honours and motto "Strength
in unity", along with its legacy of
operational excellence, courage
under fire and of breaking new
ground in naval aviation.
Several nations are introduc-
ing this aircraft -- known interna-
tionally as the NH-90 troop trans-
port helicopter, but 808SQN has
recently been recognised as leading
the world in the capability being
achieved operating it at sea.
"808SQN is continuing its pre-
decessor's legacy of excellence,
and I'm pleased and proud to see
them commissioned into the Fleet,"
RADM Barrett said.
808SQN will be based at
Albatross and its aircraft will oper-
ate from Navy's amphibious and
afloat support ships HMA Ships
Success, Tobruk and Choules.
In the future, these aircraft
will also operate from Navy's new
27,000-tonne LHDs, NUSHIP
Canberra and Adelaide.
LEUT Andrew Herring
WHEN XO 808SQN LCDR Dom
Cooper, pictured left, drew his ceremo-
nial sword and took his place as Parade
Commander for the commissioning of
Navy's newest squadron, he carried
on a family tradition dating back more
than a century.
The sword he held is a family heir-
loom first wielded by his great grandfa-
ther, CAPT Earnest Betts, who joined
the Royal Navy in 1898.
It was later used by LCDR Cooper's
great uncle, LCDR Michael Betts, who
was an observer in the Royal Navy
Fleet Air Arm.
LCDR Betts initially flew the Fairey
Swordfish biplane and then ended his
career flying the Douglas Skyraider
airborne early warning aircraft in the
Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet
with 849SQN in the 1950s -- during
the same decade in which 808SQN last
operated as a RAN squadron.
LCDR Cooper said that based on
the sword's family history, its King's
Crown markings and the age of the
firm that made it, he believes it to be
about 110 years old.
THE first of 24 MH-60R Seahawk
Romeo helicopters successfully
completed its first test flight at
Sikorsky's Production Facility in
the US on June 26.
It passed a range of tests includ-
ing controllability, engine perfor-
mance, vibration analysis and navi-
gation as well as the 'Contractor
Flight Acceptance' phase.
Defence Materiel Minister Mike
Kelly said the Federal Government
had invested more than $3 billion in
acquiring the Romeos.
"The US Navy and its industry
partners have worked hard to accel-
erate the Romeo acquisition pro-
gram and this first flight occurred
only two years after contract sig-
nature, some six months ahead of
the original schedule approved by
Government in 2011," he said.
The acquisition allows Navy
to provide at least eight helicop-
ters embarked at any one time with
CELEBRATIONS BEGIN: CO 808SQN CMDR
Charlie Stephenson reads out the commissioning
order (far left) and joins Commissioning Lady Brenda
Kable and youngest member of 808SQN SMNATA
Jack Taylor in cutting the commissioning cake
(middle). Left, 816 and 723SQN conduct a fly past at
the commissioning of 808SQN at HMAS Albatross.
READY TO COMMISSION: 808SQN
members parade in front of MRH-90
Taipans during the commissioning at
Photos: ABIS Sarah Williams
Australia's Anzac-class frigates
and the new Hobart-class air war-
fare destroyers, with the remain-
der based at HMAS Albatross in
Commander Fleet Air Arm
CDRE Vince Di Pietro said the
flight was exciting news.
"Navy will very shortly be fly-
ing the most capable anti-subma-
rine and anti-surface helicopter in
the world and it will be a quantum
increase to our current helicopter
force -- both in numbers and capa-
bility," CDRE Di Pietro said.
The first helicopter is now being
prepared for transit to Lockheed
Martin's facility in Owego, New
York, where it will be fitted with its
mission systems and sensors.
First Romeo goes for a test run in US
UP AND AWAY: The first RAN Romeo takes to the air.
Photo courtesy of Woodstock Studio Photography Services
Links Archive July 4th 2013 August 1st 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page