PAYLOAD: Aircraft maintainers (from left) Petty Officer Matthew Pollman, Able Seaman Brent Campbell and Able Seaman Geoffrey Johnson load the Mk 54 torpedo onto a MH-60R Romeo in Florida.THE navy’s newest helicopter, the MH-60R Romeo, has passed another milestone with the successful firing of its Mk 54 torpedo.
Navy has bought 24 new helicopters, which will form NUSQN 725 based at HMAS Albatross. They are due back in Australia by the end of the year.
The first firing of the Mk 54 torpedo was at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre (AUTEC), and comes after just seven months of operation.
Three Mk 54 torpedos were fired against targets provided by United States Navy staff.
NUSQN 725 aircrews used all available MH-60R sensors to localise, track and correctly classify the targets prior to being given approval for the weapon release.
For the participating crews it was the culmination of an intense anti-submarine warfare training period covering all areas of MH-60R tactical operations.
Lieutenant Steve McConville, from Gauntlet 03 crew, said being the first RAN MH-60R to use the Mk 54 was a fantastic opportunity.
“This is a significant event for the RAN and Fleet Air Arm and as the aircraft captain it was a privilege to be involved in the first launch,” he said.
Maintenance staff involved gained great experience from the weapon loading exercises,
working alongside their US Navy counterparts, which provided them with valuable experience as to how the aircraft interfaces with a range of weapons.
The Mk 54 torpedo provides significant capability improvements over the currently used Mk 46 torpedo.
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