|725 Squadron conducted firings of the AGM-114N Hellfire missile from MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopters (photo: Unknown)|
April 22, 2016 - The offensive tactical airborne capability of the Navy was demonstrated recently when 725 Squadron conducted firings of the AGM-114N Hellfire missile from MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopters.
Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matt Royals, said the live firings provide important tactical training.
“We conducted five live missile firings against targets in the East Australian Exercise Area in early April and these firings were designed to improve the war fighting capability of the Navy’s newest helicopter system,” he said.
“Handling weapons and being exposed to delivery procedures is the best way to prepare maintenance staff and aircrew for future deployments to sea.
“The opportunity to fire the missiles has provided exposure to all areas of weapon preparation and tactical delivery of Hellfire,” Commander Royals said.
During the engagement sequences, all methods of Hellfire weapons delivery were exercised by crews from 725 Squadron. For Lieutenants Callum Newton and Dave Barlow, the opportunity to conduct live missile firings against moving targets was a fantastic training opportunity.
“This certainly put all the training, hard work and preparation into perspective,” Lieutenant Newton said.
“Having the opportunity to conduct these live-fire exercises has certainly improved the tactical capability of the aircrew involved,” said Lieutenant Barlow.
Assisting the Romeo crews with the location and targeting were members of Navy Unmanned Aviation Systems Unit, who flew missions above the target area with ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle. Their participation proved that a definite capability was available to the Navy, with the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle providing overwatch and a real time feed of the Hellfire engagements.
Hellfire is a precision air-to-ground weapon delivering multi-target capability and strike lethality. It is capable of attacking targets out to eight kilometres and reaches speeds in excess of Mach 1. The AGM-114N variant which the Royal Australian Navy has purchased contains a Metal Augmented Charge and is ideal for the Navy’s intended use from the MH-60R in the anti-surface warfare role. The MH-60R is capable of carrying up to eight Hellfire missiles.