Royal Australian Navy’s submarine-hunting and anti-surface warfare helicopters have successfully completed Exercise Tigerfish, proving the warfighting proficiency of aircrews from No. 816 Squadron. MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from the Nowra-based squadron dropped recoverable exercise torpedos and fired precision air-to-ground missiles and rockets at various surface and sub-surface training targets off the eastern coast, in order to practice, develop and demonstrate their ability to employ weapons system against realistic targets.
Overall, 16 weapons were employed during the two weeks of the exercise. It was the culmination of significant collaborative effort by units of the Fleet Air Arm and supporting agencies. The importance of the exercise to advancing aircrew skills could not be overstated. The success of Tigerfish has been crucial in furthering the MH-60R capability and increasing the lethality of our operational aircrews. Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm has a fleet of 24 MH-60Rs across No. 816 and No. 725 Squadrons.
For participating aircrew, the exercise provided a valuable opportunity to hone complex skills obtained in aircraft simulators with live weapons and real-world environments. The training benefit we receive from firing live weapons is invaluable and the opportunity to employ multiple weapons gives a crew the ability to enhance their skill sets and tactical appreciation. For No. 816 Squadron maintenance teams, exercising the procedures for loading live ordnance helps ensure effective training to support aircraft entering potential conflict.
The MH-60R Seahawk is the Royal Australian Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter and will form a very important part of its operations for years to come. The MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo. The primary missions of the ‘Romeo’ helicopter is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.