Two RAN MH-60R naval combat helicopters are to take part in April in the multi-national exercise Joint Warrior 2019, the maritime element of which will focused in the offshore and coastal waters to the north east, north and north west of Scotland.
Captain Grant O’Loughlan, deputy commander of the RAN’s Fleet Air Arm, told ADM the MH-60Rs from 816 Squadron RAN along with aircrew and support personal would be flown to the UK by RAAF C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters and spend about three weeks participating in the exercise.
The first international deployment of RAN MH-60Rs was to Exercise Joint Warrior 2018, where two of the type participated in high-end anti-submarine scenarios off the coast of Scotland pairing with UK Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.
The forthcoming deployment would hopefully be followed by annual exercises with European navies to hone with diverse submarine types the anti-submarine skills of the RAN’s 24-strong MH-60R fleet, CAPT O’Loughlan said.
The deployment follows news that modifications are well underway to improve HMAS Hobart’s capacity to store Mk54 torpedoes and AGM-114N Hellfire missiles for the Air Warfare Destroyer’s MH-60R.
HMAS Hobart has previously been able to deploy with the MH-60R together with Mk54s and Hellfires, but not with the full combat load.