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    NEWS | Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk in Fleet Air Arm (RAN)

    HMAS Ballarat in Talisman Sabre 2021

    Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) took part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 carrying a 816 Squadron MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and a 822X Squadron Camcopter drone

    * Since 2003 exercise Talisman Sabre is held every two years aiming to test Australian interoperability with the United States and other participating forces in complex warfighting scenarios. TS21 also included units from Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom


    HMAS Ballarat in Talisman Sabre 2021

    Australia Dept.Defence, August 03, 2021 - by Lieutenant Commander Ryan Zerbe - HMAS Ballarat’s MH-60R, dubbed 'Convict', achieved 1000 flying hours while at sea during Exercise Talisman Sabre off the coast of Queensland.

    The MH-60R is a submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter equipped with highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.

    Convict, its flight crew and a team of maintainers from No. 816 Squadron’s Flight 3, joined Ballarat in March 2020 and have been embarked for a number of deployments during that time.

    Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said the aircraft and supporting personnel added a vital capability to the ship.

    “Having an embarked aircraft is an invaluable force multiplier for a warship and this deployment simply would not have been as successful without Convict and the team from 816 Squadron,” Commander Pisani said.

    “In the time we’ve been deployed, our MH-60R has assisted in the search for the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala, contributed to surveillance efforts on Operation Argos, taken part in multiple transits through the South China Sea, worked with other navies in the region and played a key role in Exercise Talisman Sabre.”

    Aviation Warfare Officer Lieutenant Ashley Hill said the MH-60R had repeatedly proven its exceptional capability and robust performance at sea throughout the deployment. “We’ve conducted an array of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare evolutions, which have demonstrated the vast capabilities of the MH-60R,” Lieutenant Hill said.

    “Convict provided a potent surveillance and interception capability during patrols for illegal maritime activity as part of Operation Argos, which has brought our flying hours to this milestone. “Our MH-60R had only accrued 775.4 flying hours when we embarked this year, so to cross the 1000 hours mark already shows how much we rely on our ability to fly often.”

    Ballarat will return home to Fleet Base West near Rockingham in Western Australia in the coming weeks.

    Convict and No. 816 Squadron are based at Nowra, NSW.

    Eyes in the sky with Camcopter drone

    Apart from an MH-60R helicopter, HMAS Ballarat also carries an S-100 Schiebel Camcopter, an unmanned aerial vehicle that offers enhanced surveillance capability at sea.

    A small detachment from 822X Squadron at the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is conducting trials with the 3.1-m long rotorcraft as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS21).

    Remote Pilot Warfare Officer Lieutenant Jack Parsey said the S-100 provided Ballarat’s command team with a highly flexible intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability in real-time.

    “The S-100 can be used for a number of activities, such as search and rescue, tactical maritime operations, and overwatch for the ship’s boarding party,” Lieutenant Parsey said. “A major advantage of the S-100 is that the vision it captures can be live-fed straight back to the operations room providing a real-time tactical picture.”

    Attention is also being paid to how the S-100 can operate in conjunction with the MH-60R to multiply overall aerial capability.

    “Manned/unmanned teaming is the phrase that has been given to this sort of aircraft-to-aircraft partnership,” Lieutenant Parsey said. “For instance, the helicopter may spot a vessel of interest while on patrol, the details of which can be relayed to the ship, at which time the S-100 can be deployed to take over the surveillance. “The S-100 can then stay on-station for longer than traditional aircraft, thanks to its endurance capability.”

    Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said TS21 had been a good opportunity to inject the S-100 into a sea combat environment. “One of our tasks during Talisman Sabre has been to hunt submarines in our area of operation to disrupt the enemy force within the exercise,” Commander Pisani said. “Our MH-60R is designed for that purpose, but the S-100 boosts our ability to search for submarines and track their periscopes until the helicopter can respond.

    “That additional situational awareness makes us a more potent unit overall and increases our fighting edge.”

    Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk

    HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) , Anzac-class frigate

    Aircraft mentioned in this article :
    Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk N48-018     ( Fleet Air Arm (RAN) )

    This article is listed in :
    Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk in Fleet Air Arm (RAN)
    Schiebel Camcopter S-100 in Fleet Air Arm (RAN)
    HMAS Ballarat ( FFH 155, Anzac class )
    816 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (RAN)     Royal Australian Navy
    822 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (RAN)     Royal Australian Navy



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