Minister for Defence – New training system for ADF helicopter crews

A modern helicopter training system for Navy and Army personnel has been approved by the Australian Government, Defence Minister Senator David Johnston announced today.

Senator Johnston said the new training system would better prepare Navy and Army aircrew to transition to the ADF’s current combat helicopter fleet, as well as the advanced helicopters entering service this decade.

The Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) will be based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW. The preferred partner for HATS, Boeing Defence Australia, has proposed a training system that will include purpose designed syllabi based on 15 Airbus Helicopter EC-135 twin-engine ‘glass cockpit’ training helicopters; three full-motion Thales EC 135 Flight Simulators and addition of a flight deck to Navy’s new sea-going training vessel. Final contract negotiations with Boeing will conclude directly.

“This will deliver a fully integrated modern training environment with both in-flight and virtual environments on contemporary twin-engine helicopters and flight simulators.

“These will prepare both Navy and Army for the new generation of advanced combat helicopters such as the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, MRH-90 Taipan, MH 60R Seahawk Romeo and our new CH-47F Chinook Foxtrots.”

Senator Johnston said the joint service approach would benefit the ADF because of the reduced training burden on operational aircraft and enhanced Navy and Army operations from the new amphibious ships.

“Defence will also achieve a significant efficiency now that all Army and Navy aircrew will do their initial helicopter training in the one location.

“Being based at Albatross will also bring the advantage of aircrew being able to train in realistic conditions at sea including ship deck-landing and search and rescue skills.”

Senator Johnston said there were significant opportunities for the Australian defence industry, with the local component valued at more than 65 per cent of the acquisition and support contracts of the training system.

The approval allocates over $700 million to acquire the new training system which includes around $200 million in new and refurbished facilities at Albatross.

He said he expected that in excess of 380 short term and more than 80 long term jobs will be created because of the project in the Shoalhaven area.

Initial Operating Capability for HATS is late 2018 but the systems will begin to receive students before then, with a mature training capacity of up to 130 students a year covering pilots, aviation warfare officers, aircrewmen, sensor operators and qualified aircrew returning for instructor training.

Media contacts:

Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s office) 0477 389 554
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999


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