Helicopter Aircrew Training System development progressing

Ann Sudmalis and Marise Payne at 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross

The development of a $157 million Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) at 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross was inspected by government representatives on Friday.

Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne and member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis visited the NSW site together.

Minister Payne said the project will provide state-of-the-art training facilities for Navy and Army aviators.

“The new Helicopter Aircrew Training System will provide streamlined initial pilot training in a highly realistic environment for our Navy and Army personnel,” Minister Payne said.

“As part of the training system, 15 Airbus EC135 helicopters will be based at Nowra replacing the Navy’s Squirrel and Army’s Kiowa helicopters which are more than 30 and 40 years old respectively.

“The project includes a new training centre with three flight simulators, refurbished hangars and workshops and new living accommodation.”

Once operational in 2018, the facility will support the training of up to 116 pilots, aviation warfare officers, aircrew, sensor operators and instructors per year.

The government’s $157 million investment in HATS is part of its $500 million investment in upgrading the facilities at HMAS Albatross.

Sudmalis said the government’s investment in HMAS Albatross was delivering a welcome economic boost to the region.

“These facilities will not only assist our next generation of Army and Navy aircrew, but they are helping to secure local jobs,” Sudmalis said.

“More than 1,600 Defence personnel work at HMAS Albatross and it is great to have an investment this size in the region.

“The men and women who serve our country that operate out of HMAS Albatross call Gilmore home. That in itself is an economic investment.

“This training facility also provides opportunities for up to 380 external contractors to work on world leading projects; it provides learning opportunities for apprentices and trainees.”

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