Boeing has commenced training of Australia’s future military helicopter aircrew at the new joint Helicopter Aircrew Training School (HATS) at HMAS Albatross in Nowra within 723 Squadron.
Thirty seven future pilots, aircrew and aviation warfare officers have commenced the 26-week course ahead of their conversion to operational Navy and Army aircraft. The school will train up to 116 students per year over the next 25 years.
Commanding Officer 723 Squadron Commander Bruce Willington said the launch of the training school using a ‘one team’ approach delivered an integrated training system for all rotary wing aircrew.
“Our mission is to train professional and resilient aircrew with the teamwork and decision making skills to fight and win in the land and maritime environment,” he said. “Boeing, Thales, Army and Navy have combined under 723 Squadron to deliver the best training possible for our junior aircrew.”
The HATS encompasses part task trainers including winching, aircraft marshalling, aerial transfers to ships and deck operations; flight simulators; a helicopter maintenance program; development and maintenance of training materials and overall curriculum of four ab initio courses; along with the provision of ground and air training by Boeing instructors.
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, said the establishment of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System within 723 Squadron represents a major step forward for next-generation military helicopter training.
“Our Navy and Army aviators operate some of the most advanced equipment in the world, which is now matched by state of the art training facilities that combine full motion simulation, virtual reality and airborne instruction in a purpose built school house.
“Maritime, littoral and land warfare is a demanding vocation, and mission success often relies on the aviator. The Helicopter Aircrew Training System will ensure they are ready.”
Boeing Defence Australia’s HATS program director Darryn Fletcher said the on-time commencement of the first training course after a three-year development demonstrates the strength of collaboration between Boeing, its industry partners and the CoA to deliver important Defence capability.
“This world-class system allows students to gain confidence and competency in a safe and cost effective manner on the ground using reality training devices before moving to the operational aircraft.”
Thales’s full flight simulators provide a high-fidelity virtual reality environment for students to hone their skills while preparing them for the modern aircraft.
“This program is great for the students because it is going to provide them with the best training available,” CMDR Willington said. “It’s great for the Navy and the Army because it’s better preparing those students for the future challenges ahead on the operational helicopters, and it’s great for the community because it brings an additional 60 Army aircrew and about 80 Boeing and Thales Australia employees into our local community.”