Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR May 2015 Contents ‘Classic’ it replaces. The Romeo builds on the known
and trusted Seahawk air vehicle, incorporating state-
of-the-art sensors in an open architecture, integrated
mission system. The Romeo is a potent maritime
combat helicopter. We look forward to sharing in
the U.S . Navy’s ongoing technology upgrades and
continuing to build upon the proven capabilities.”
In addition to the MH-60R’s unmatched capability
in its primary mission areas of anti-submarine and
anti-surface warfare, it also has the capability for
secondary missions such as search and rescue, vertical
replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics
support, personnel transport, medical evacuation, and
VHF/UHF/link communication relay.
AP-3C ORIONS AND P-8A POSEIDON
The AP-3C Orion is an extremely versatile aircraft
capable of land maritime surveillance, anti-submarine
and anti-ship warfare, naval fleet support, and search
and rescue operations.
The Orion first entered military service in 1962,
with the P-3C introduced in 1968. The significantly
upgraded Australian AP-3C Orions were introduced
into service in 2002, and are fitted with a variety of
sensors, including digital multi-mode radar, electronic
support measures, electro-optics detectors (infra-red
and visual), magnetic anomaly detectors, friend or foe
identification systems and acoustic detectors.
According to the RAAF “The AP-3C Orion may
work alone, or in conjunction with other aircraft or
ships. Wartime missions include locating and attacking
enemy submarines and ships using torpedoes and
Harpoon anti-shipping missiles. Orions also assist in
search and rescue operations by conducting search
and survivor supply (air drop) missions.”
On 21 February 2014 Prime Minister Tony Abbott
announced Australia’s acquisition of eight P-8A
Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft and approved
an option for a further four aircraft subject to the
outcomes of the 2015 Defence White Paper review.
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017, with all eight
aircraft fully operational by 2021.
According to Boeing the P-8A Poseidon is a
derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800 designed
for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-
surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area
maritime and littoral operations. They claim it has twice
the sonobuoy processing capability and can carry 30
percent more sonobuoys than any maritime patrol and
reconnaissance aircraft currently flying.
The Poseidon can launch Mk. 54 anti-submarine
torpedoes, drop depth charges and free-fall bombs, as
well as fire Harpoon and other missiles.
There is no doubt that navies of the Asia-Pacific
region are extending their submarine fleets through
acquisition of primarily modern Russian, French and
German designs, or through indigenous programs in
China and Japan.
Current strategic thinking in Australia sees the need
for the RAN’s future fleet to expand from the current six
Collins Class (typically just three operational at any one
time) to up to twelve vessels in a new class of modern
diesel-electric submarines coming into service from
around 2026 onwards.
Australian ASW warfare capabilities are focused in
two main areas. Firstly the defence of individual naval
ships or task groups and secondly for protection of
The ADF have underwater, surface and aerial assets
which can identify, classify, track and if necessary
neutralise threats from any potential adversary’s
submarines. ASW requires patient, resolute, technically
competent crews led by superb commanders to employ
hi-tech sensors on these platforms to good effect.
How successful are they likely to be in prosecuting
an ASW attack? The range of sophisticated sensors
and hi-tech weapons systems give them a good
chance if the cat-and-mouse game of anti-submarine
warfare provides sound targeting information. But
ultimately there is an element of luck and native
cunning required to defeat a wily foe.
Aircraft 902 from NUSQN 725 fires the first 'Hellfire' missile from the MH-60R
Seahawk 'Romeo', in Florida, United States of America. Credit: CoA
HMAS Sheean sails through Cockburn Sound as they prepare to berth
alongside HMAS Stirling after a lengthy deployment. Credit: CoA
Australian ASW platforms include Collins Class submarines, ANZAC
frigates and soon Hobart Class air warfare destroyers.
34 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAY 2015
23/04/2015 2:09 pm
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