PACIFIC OCEAN – HMAS Canberra (L02), the Royal Australian Navy helicopter landing dock, took two MV-22B Osprey military aircraft on board and successfully moved the Osprey from the flight deck into the hangar to the first time at sea during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.
The MV-22Bs will operate from Canberra for the duration of RIMPAC in another first for the ship. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to August 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
The largest international maritime exercise in the world, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and maintaining cooperative relationships among participants essential to keeping sea lanes safe and the world’s oceans safe. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series which began in 1971. (Story by Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Nancy Cotton)
HMAS Canberra took on two MV-22B Osprey military aircraft and their crew on board, flying the deck during the first week of the maritime phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.
The planes are on board for the duration of the tactical phase and are one of several types of helicopters to land and take off from the Canberra flight deck during the exercise.
A team of aircraft maintenance and flight test unit (AMAFTU) personnel boarded for RIMPAC and, in a first for Canberra, the aircraft was moved and stowed on board.
Australian Army Major David Ellson said what the unit is achieving has taken work from AMAFTU to get to this point, but is important for future capabilities and great achievement have.
“This is the first time at sea that we have lowered an MV-22B from the flight deck onto the elevator and into the hangar,” Major Ellson said.
“This is all part of AMAFTU’s trials to allow coalition aircraft to board our ships regularly.
“The evolution to move and stow the MV-22B involved approximately ten crew members and allowed AMAFTU and the MV-22B crew to observe what this phase of RIMPAC is all about, interchangeability between Australia and coalition nations such as the United States.
Canberra not only boarded the two planes, but also their pilots, ground staff and maintainers. The 25 members live on board and integrate into life with other Australians.
Exercises on board the MV-22Bs will identify how Australian helicopter landing docks can support the aircraft for long periods of time.
“Having the Osprey crew on board they can undertake maintenance and we can see what our stamina is to sustain the aircraft for short, medium and long term boardings,” Major Ellson said.
“Moving and stowing the Osprey was done at a slower pace with our Canberra crew working alongside the Osprey crew as it is a large aircraft and the crews did not at sea, we had to make sure the plane could be stowed inside the ship and reached safely.
“It’s good to see this accomplished and it was a great moment for everyone involved, it’s always a sense of accomplishment to be involved in a ‘first’ for the ship.”
HMAS Canberra will continue to conduct air operations at sea with international partners and allies as part of RIMPAC 2022.