The Royal Australian Navy helicopter has surpassed 2,000 flight hours while on deployment in south-east Asia.
Embarked on HMAS Anzac, the helicopter, dubbed ‘‘Berserker’, is engaging alongside HMA Ships Canberra and Sirius as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2021 (IPE21).
The Sikorsky-built MH-60R Seahawk, operated by 816 Squadron, has deployed from HMAS Anzac since August 2020, and recently supported the frigate’s three-month regional engagement and the emergency rescue of 20 Indonesian fishermen stranded 670 nautical miles off the coast of Western Australia.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Anzac, Commander David McPherson, lauded the helicopter’s contribution to ADF missions.
“This milestone of 2,000 flight hours was reached supporting a wide variety of different missions, which demonstrates the essential capability of the aircraft,” CMDR McPherson said.
“The flight deck is particularly exposed to the harsh environmental conditions in the region we are operating, and the maintainers have excelled in ensuring the essential capability is available to command.”
Chief Petty Officer, Aircraft Technician Avionics, Mary-Ann Slavik is the first female flight senior maintenance sailor to lead an MH-60R flight on deployment.
“It’s always a team effort and I have a great group of maintainers,” CPO Slavik said.
“They don’t only see a requirement and fill it but they are also proactive working with the aircrew to forecast support for possible future flying profiles that Berserker may have to fill."
CMDR McPherson went on to reflect upon IPE21, which he said provided personnel with an opportunity to bolster interoperability skills with regional partners.
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“IPE 21 delivers on our commitment to regional security, and the Australian Defence Force has found ways to continue this regular schedule of regional outreach, co-operative training and information sharing, while operating within the current restrictions imposed by COVID-19,” CMDR McPherson said.