Darwin’s lily pad legacy
3 November 2017
The MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter is becoming more a more regular visitor across the fleet, in part thanks to 'Lily Pad Operations’.
In late October, HMAS Adelaide received approval notification from Commander Australian Fleet for Lily Pad Operations to be conducted by a MRH-90 operating off HMAS Adelaide and onto the FFG-class guided missile frigate HMAS Darwin during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017.
Wasting little time, Adelaide’s embarked Navy MRH-90 quickly flew into action to prove the aircraft’s initial suitability for use with the FFG-class.
During a transit from Singapore to Darwin, a team from Adelaide were winch transferred to Darwin prior to undertaking a number of Deck Landing Practices.
Commander Stuart Baily, the Air Boss of HMAS Adelaide, said the operational training was invaluable in familiarising the aircrew with the FFG deck and to provide aircraft-type training for Darwin's Helicopter Control Officer and her deck team.
"The ability of the MRH-90 helicopter to now conduct Lily Pad Operations on both the FFG and the Anzac-class FFH flight decks provides the Task Group Commander with a helicopter that is totally interoperable for any humanitarian and disaster relief operations that we may be called upon to conduct,” he said.
“Although Lily Pad Operations do not provide the full capability the full first-of-class flight trials produce, this interim measure allows the MRH-90 to land on both platforms with caveats both by day and night.
“This decision is a true force multiplier for humanitarian and disaster relief operations."
HMAS Adelaide is deployed on Indo-Pacific Endeavour from September to Nov 2017.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour has focused on enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s key regional partners including Indonesia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Cambodia and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour demonstrates Australia’s commitment to security and cooperation throughout South-East Asia and the Pacific.
It has also allowed Navy to demonstrate the capability and interoperability of the ADF’s largest asset, the Landing Helicopter Dock in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.