The ADF's Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) has successfully achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC).
The training system is designed to prepare Navy and Army aircrew for transition into Defence’s complex combat helicopters. 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.
“Following successful testing of the individual aircrew training courses throughout 2018, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan declared the conditions had been met for Initial Operating Capability,” Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said.
“The training system, operating from 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW, replaces the Navy’s Squirrel and Army’s Kiowa training helicopters.
“At an acquisition cost of $436 million, HATS has delivered a modern helicopter training system for Defence which has the ability to train up to 144 helicopter pilots, aircrew and aviation warfare officers each year.
“The HATS project overcame significant early delays to commence training on time, demonstrating what can be achieved when Defence and industry co-operate closely,” Minister Pyne said.
In August 2018, the HATS project received the prestigious Essington Lewis Trophy which recognises excellence in industry and Defence collaboration.