Training of Australia’s future military helicopter aircrew has commenced at the new Joint Helicopter Aircrew Training School at HMAS Albatross in Nowra within 723 Squadron.
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Boeing Defence Australia, industry partners and the government welcomed the 37 future pilots, aircrew and aviation warfare officers to the 26-week course this week.
The school will train up to 116 students per year over the next 25 years, ahead of their conversion to operational Navy and Army aircraft.
Bruce Willington, Commanding Officer of 723 Squadron, 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 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (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.
"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," said Darryn Fletcher, Boeing Defence Australia’s HATS program director.
"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."
Commander Willington added Thales’s full flight simulators will 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," said CMDR Willington.
"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."