The Australian Defence Force’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) has successfully achieved Initial Operating Capability.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the training system was designed to prepare Navy and Army aircrew for transition into Defence’s complex combat helicopters.
“Following successful testing of the individual aircrew training courses throughout 2018, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan declared the conditions had been met for Initial Operating Capability,” Minister Pyne said.
“The training system, operating from 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW, replaces the Navy’s Squirrel and Army’s Kiowa training helicopters.”
The training system employs a complimentary set of full motion flight simulators, part task trainers and classroom instruction, along with 15 EC135T2+ helicopters, all within purpose-built facilities.
“At an acquisition cost of AUD $436 million, HATS has delivered a modern helicopter training system for Defence which has the ability to train up to 144 helicopter pilots, aircrew and aviation warfare officers each year,” Minister Pyne said.
“723 Squadron is staffed by Navy and Army aircrew, with additional instructors, support staff and aircraft maintenance provided by Boeing Defence Australia, who employ 108 contracted personnel in the Nowra area.
“The HATS project overcame significant early delays to commence training on time, demonstrating what can be achieved when Defence and industry co-operate closely,” Minister Pyne said.
In August 2018, the HATS project received the prestigious Essington Lewis Trophy which recognises excellence in industry and Defence collaboration.