HMAS Canberra is training at night, recovering and launching embarked United States Marine MV-22B Osprey aircraft on the flight deck during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.
The US crews are training with Canberra’s crew, working at night within the ship’s tilt rotor operating limits (STROL), flying between USS Essex and Canberra as part of their night competency training exercises.
The night serials ensure that not only can interchangeability between the two navies be achieved during daylight hours, but also by night.
Night flying operations are nothing new for Canberra, but the embarked Ospreys provided exciting firsts for her and the crew on board.
The two Ospreys, with their distinctive tilt rotors, and their teams embarked for the three-week tactical sea phase of RIMPAC.
This enabled valuable time for them to train with Canberra’s aviation division and practice operating within the STROL, conducting night flights at sea.
Canberra has a greater restricted STROL for the Ospreys to operate in which ensured maximum safety for all involved.
United States Marine Pilot Captain Caleb ‘Malibu’ Bubash was one of the crew embarked from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 “Lucky Red Lions” (VMM-363) and said landing on Canberra at night had its slight differences.
“Flying between here and Essex is different as Canberra currently has a smaller STROL, on Essex we can land with a greater pitch roll and wind speed,” Captain Bubash said.
“Also, there are different lighting configurations, when we’re approaching Canberra, the whole deck is lit up, whereas only our deck spot is illuminated on Essex. These are some of the little nuances the crews are appreciating between the two ships at night.”
Due to the size of the Osprey, some of the training undertaken during RIMPAC had been recovering and launching – taking off and landing – to different spots on Canberra’s flight deck by day and night to ensure a greater capability between the two navies.