27 Februari 2012
AgustaWestland A109E (photo : RAN)
The Royal Australian Navy’s 723 Squadron has begun 2012 on a high tempo as they prepare to upgrade their capability.
The 723 Squadron’s Retention and Motivation Initiative (RMI) program currently operate three AgustaWestland A109E helicopters under lease from Raytheon Australia.
The aircraft were recently on a training mission in Queensland where they were prepared to conduct relief during the recent flood. However their services were not required.
Commanding Officer of 723 Squadron, Commander Matthew Shand said these flights provide valuable opportunities for junior aircrew to plan and execute tasks in a wide variety of environments.
“It’s been an active start to a promising year” Commander Shand said as the Squadron eagerly await the arrival of three new Bell 429 helicopters to augment their existing fleet of 13 AS350BA Squirrels.
The new Bell 429 helicopters will still be leased from Raytheon Australia, and with their composite construction, full glass cockpit and advanced systems, the Bell 429 helicopters are set to be the most modern aircraft in Australian skies when they start flying with the Squadron mid this year.
“The experience we’re getting flying the A109E has a big impact on our ability to plan and evaluate complex missions” said Lieutenant Trine Themsen an Aviation Warfare Officer currently training with the Squadron.
“We’re excited about introducing the new Bell 429 into our training and seeing what it can do”.
The first of three new Bell 429 helicopters are due to arrive at HMAS Albatross in Nowra during March before undergoing a limited test program and entering service with 723 Squadron in May.