Thursday, July 31, 2014

Romeo sends Hellfire down range

By CDR Dave Frost RAN. Photos by LCDR Stephan Immerz RAN.

Members from NUSQN 725 stand alongside Aircraft 902, which will fire the first 'Hellfire'missile from the MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo', in Florida, United States of America. (From left) Petty Officer Aircrewman Glenn Watson, Lieuteneant Commander Michael Robertson and Lieutenant Joel Bury. (photo: LCDR Stephan Immerz)

NAS Jacksonville July 31, 2014 - In the space of seven short months, NUSQN 725 has leapt from receiving their first MH-60R Romeo helicopters to firing the first Royal Australian Navy AGM-114 Hellfire missiles during a live fire exercise at the Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (AUTEC) in the United States. 
It was smiles all round for the entire team, especially for the crew of Gauntlet 02, who carry the honour of firing the first missile. In total, six Hellfires were fired as the crews built on complex high end war-fighting scenarios throughout the deployment.
For Lieutenant Aaron Schurink, being the aircraft captain of the initial firing crew was an incredible opportunity.
"This is a major milestone for the Fleet Air Arm and a significant capability for the Royal Australian Navy.
"For me personally, it's something that I'll remember for many years to come," he said.
Commanding Officer of 725 Squadron, Commander David Frost was clearly impressed with his team's performance and commitment.

NUSQN 725 Operations Officer LCDR Nigel Rowan conducts pre-flight checks on the 'Hellfire' prior to launch from the MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo', in Florida, United States of America.

"This one's for all those people across a number of organisations. Collectively, they made this helicopter come to life. The Royal Australian Navy now possesses a very potent helicopter and we are well positioned to take full advantage of all the systems it carries.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team, they've stayed focussed, professional and highly motivated from day one." 
While the exercise has certainly been a highlight of the Romeo introduction, NUSQN 725's dance card remains full for their remaining six months in the United States. Additional missile firings and local anti-submarine exercises will keep the Squadron busy throughout 2014 while they also commence returning people, aircraft and stores later in the year.  
NUSQN 725 will be completely established on home soil at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, by December this year.

Members from NUSQN 725 fit the first 'Hellfire'missile to be fired from the MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo', in Florida, United States of America. (From left) Petty Officer Aircraft Technician Avionics (ATV) Ray Warren, Chief Petty Officer ATV Phil Copley, Able Seaman (AB) ATV Josh Beaven, ABATV Josh Miller, Leading Seaman (LS) ATV Gian Archer, LSATV Mark Goodwin.

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