Australian ‘Romeo’ helicopters hone anti-submarine warfare skills with HMAS Rankin

Royal Australian Navy’s naval aviation 725 Squadron based at naval air station HMAS Albatross, has been conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises with submarine HMAS Rankin, off Jervis Bay, during the past two weeks.

Navy’s latest anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ maritime combat helicopters conducted a number of sonar dipping activities to locate the submarine, localise and track it.

Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matthew Royals said it had been an intensive period of training.

“This is the first time we’ve done a ‘DIPEX’ in the Royal Australian Navy since 1994. The interaction between Rankin and 725 Squadron during the exercise was excellent and we have learnt a lot from an air crew and maintenance perspective,” he said.

The single propeller submarine HMAS Rankin moves silently on electric power supplied to the propulsion motor by banks of batteries, which makes them challenging to locate.

“While our Collins class submarines are very stealthy, the sonar buoys and airborne low frequency sonar we use are highly developed,” Commander Royals said.

The MH-60R was the Australian Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter. According to the Navy, it is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite, torpedoes and air-to-surface missiles.

While the training was valuable for the aviators, it was also an important exercise for Rankin.

“For the submariners, it’s an opportunity to hear what noise our equipment makes so they can identify it and practice avoidance techniques,” Commander Royals said.