HMAS Anzac’s embarked MH-60R Seahawk ‘Berserker’ has reached a milestone of 2000 flight hours while deployed in Southeast Asia.

The helicopter and ship are in company with HMA Ships Canberra and Sirius as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2021 (IPE21), Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity.

The MH-60R Seahawk, from 816 SQN, has been attached to Anzac since August 2020, and recently supported the ship’s three-month regional presence deployment, as well as the rescue of 20 Indonesian fishermen who had become stranded 670 nautical miles off the coast of Western Australia.

Commanding Officer Anzac Commander David McPherson highlighted the agile nature and responsiveness of Berserker’s maintainers and aircrew.

“This milestone of 2000 flight hours was reached supporting a wide variety of different missions, which demonstrates the essential capability of the aircraft,” Commander 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.” 

Commander McPherson said IPE21 was an important opportunity to engage with regional partners, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

“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, cooperative training and information sharing, while operating within the current restrictions imposed by COVID-19,” Commander McPherson said.

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,” Chief Petty Officer 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. 

“I think Navy has gone beyond genders and it’s about the right team for the job, and that’s how it should always be.”