First of Class Flight Trials on HMAS Adelaide (L01) are providing the ship’s Aviation Support team with vital training and the Royal Australian Navy with increased operational capability. The trials off the Queensland coast determine the safe operating limits of the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopter on the ship in a range of sea states and wind speeds, by day and by night. The trials increase Adelaide’s operational capability and provide a war-fighting edge, particularly surface and underwater warfare.
The Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU) is not the only unit to benefit from conducting flight trials on board. Adelaide’s Aviation Support team is also conducting deck handling and crash-on-deck exercises to improve their familiarity with the MH-60R helicopter. The flight trials provided vital training to the ship’s aviation support sailors. Royal Australian Navy Aviation Support sailors manage the movements and deck systems of the Navy’s fleet of advanced military helicopters both on shore and at sea.
HMAS Adelaide (L01) is the second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Construction of the ship started at Navantia’s Spanish shipyard with steel-cutting in February 2010. The ship was laid down in February 2011, and launched on 4 July 2012. Delivery to Australia for fitting out at BAE Systems Australia’s facilities in Victoria was scheduled for 2013, but did not occur until early 2014. Despite construction delays and predictions the ship was commissioned in December 2015.
The Canberra-class design is based on the warship Juan Carlos I, built by Navantia for the Spanish Navy. The Canberra-class vessels are 230.82 metres long overall, with a maximum beam of 32 metres, and a maximum draught of 7.08 metres. Each ship is fitted with a Saab 9LV Mark 4 combat management system. The sensor suite includes a Sea Giraffe 3D surveillance radar, and a Vampir NG infrared search and track system. For self-defence, the LHDs will be fitted with four Rafael Typhoon 25 mm remote weapons systems, six 12.7 mm machine guns, an AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy, and a Nulka missile decoy.