Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR May 2014 Contents 26 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter M AY 2014
AIR 9000 Ph7
media to either industry or Defence, instead of
Defence only at the moment.
In addition to pilot training Boeing have been
graduating qualified Black Hawk technicians;
delivering a broad range of ancillary training courses;
and more than 4,000 services across Kiowa and
Black Hawk training helicopters, annually.
ANOTHER HELICOPTER TYPE IN THE
The new joint training system will allow the retirement
of 40 Kiowa helicopters operated by Army and 13
Squirrel helicopters operated by Navy. When APDR
asked “How will Defence cope with the introduction
of an extra helicopter type to the ADF’s fleet?” their
“AI R 9000 Phase 7 will replace the Kiowa and
Squirrel (and the contracted B429) with a single
helicopter type, thus reducing the overall number of
types in service.”
When HATS commences training ab-initio helicopter
pilots, there will be no further ADF requirement to fly
the Squirrels and Kiowas, which will be sold through
the usual Defence disposals process.
How different is the EC-135, proposed by the
Boeing led team, from the MRH-90?
Basically the EC-135 is a light twin-engine
helicopter to civilian design, with a mean takeoff
weight (MTOW) of less than 3 tonnes. The MRH-90 is
a multi-role twin-engine medium-lift military helicopter
in the 10 tonne class.
The EC-135 is well known in Australian aviation
circles as it is used by the NSW and Victorian
Police Air Wings, as well as a number of emergency
services in most states.
APDR asked Defence how many EC-135
helicopters were expected to be required for HATS.
Their project spokesperson said
“AI R 9000 Phase 7 will acquire 14–20 twin-engine
training helicopters (plus a number of high fidelity
The spokesperson also indicated that Defence
does not expect any manufacturing or assembly work
for the EC135s to occur in Australia.
HMAS ALBATROSS, NOWRA
This historic Naval Air Station supports Commander
Fleet Air Arm (COMFAA), who has responsibility for
delivery of aviation capability to the Government;
helicopter squadrons for pilot, observer and aircrew
training (723 Squadron at Nowra and 725 Squadron
at Jacksonville, Florida for specialised MH-60R
training); and the two squadrons which provide air
support to the fleet. 816 Squadron currently flies
S70-B2 Seahawk helicopters from the Navy’s FFG
and ANZAC frigates, but these helicopters will be
replaced by MH-60R Seahawk Romeos by the end
of this decade. 808 Squadron flies MRH-90 Taipan
multi-role helicopters in support of the RAN fleet and
A Defence spokesperson said:
“An Aviation Training Vessel will also be supplied
as a component of the new training system through
existing Defence Maritime Support arrangements.”
Recent aerial photos of HMAS ALBATROSS at
Nowra show a helicopter landing area marked out
with the deck shape of the two new huge Canberra
Class Landing Helicopter Dock vessels.
The site is being expanded to provide through life
support for the Seahawk Romeos and for specialised
ground training as part of HATS.
LOCATION OF OPERATIONAL
On successful graduation from their HATS course,
Navy pilots will remain at Nowra for their operational
conversion course to MH-60 maritime combat
helicopters. A spokesperson for HATS told APDR:
“Operational conversion training for Navy MRH-90
aircrew will continue to be provided at the single
MRH 90 training site in Oakey.”
Army pilots going on to fly the MRH-90, Tiger ARH
and CH-47F Chinooks will undertake their conversion
courses at Oakey.
WHAT HAPPENS TO RMI 2?
At HMAS ALBATROSS, Navy’s 723 Squadron's
primary focus is on training and it is here that all Navy
pilots, observers and aircrew undertake conversion
training from fixed wing to rotary wing aircraft.
The Navy’s Retention and Motivation Initiative
(RMI) program enables junior qualified aircrew to
consolidate and enhance their skills whilst awaiting
operational flying training. In 2012 the program was
extended and dubbed RMI2.
Under the new $26 million four year contract
covering the period 2012-16, Raytheon has provided
the Navy with three new Bell 429 helicopters for
1,500 tasking hours per annum.
Raytheon state their RMI solution has been
designed for support, providing the most effective
capability at the lowest total cost of ownership under
a performance based arrangement.
The Bell 429 is claimed by Raytheon to be the
most modern and cost effective light twin helicopter
on the market today, and it was because of this that
they tendered the Bell 429 as their flying platform
for HATS. As noted previously, they are on the short
list and still believe they have a chance if current
negotiations with Boeing Defence Services/Thales
are terminated by Defence. For this reason Raytheon
would also not comment to APDR on HATS.
What happens after 2016? APDR put this question
to Defence, whose spokesperson responded:
“The purpose of the RMI is to motivate, sustain
and develop the skills of junior Navy aircrew awaiting
operational conversion training. This requirement
will remain until the capacity and throughput in the
MH-60R, MRH-90 and ab-initio training systems are
Given that the current planned end to RMI2 is
April 2016, does the present contract between
Defence and Raytheon provide for RMI2 extensions?
A Defence spokesperson confirmed to APDR that
yes, it did.
There will be clues in the May Defence Budget
2014-15 as to the ongoing funding of HATS in
2014-15 and the Forward Estimates out to 2018.
The 2013-14 Budget indicated that AIR 9000 Phase
7 HATS was expected to be considered for Second
Pass Approval during 2013-14, borne out by the
latest indications of SPA about mid-2014.
Will any extra facilities required to be built at Nowra
for HATS, or can existing facilities be converted?
APDR enquired about facility plans and a project
“A number of facilities options are being explored
including re-use of current facilities, new build, and a
combination of both.”
APDR asked “How long after Second Pass
Approval does Defence expect it to take to introduce
new Learning Management Systems, Courseware,
CAI, CBT, Desk Top Trainers and other Synthetic
Training Devices?” A spokesperson for the HATS
project stated that:
“AI R 9000 Phase 7 will deliver an integrated
Joint Helicopter School that will commence student
training activities in 2018”.
There could be a brief overlap period around 2018
when both old and new types of training helicopters
will co-exist as old courses are finishing while new
HATS courses at Nowra are commencing.
The project appears to be progressing on track
and future ADF helicopter pilots will be well served
by their introduction to rotary wing flying at Nowra
The short-listed teams
were led by: Australian
Aerospace; Boeing Defence
Services; and Raytheon.
8/05/14 3:40 PM
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