The Australian Defence Force’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS), which, in August 2018, received the Essington Lewis Trophy, has achieved initial Operating Capability, and as such, will replace the Navy’s Squirrel and Army’s Kiowa training helicopters.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said: “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.”
The training system operates from 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales, and employs a complimentary set of full-motion flight simulators, part task trainers and classroom instruction and 15 EC135T2+ helicopters, all within purpose-built facilities. Minister Pyne explained that the training system was designed to prepare Navy and Army aircrew for transition into using Defence’s helicopters.
Minister Pyne also detailed that 723 Squadron is staffed by Navy and Army aircrew, and has ‘additional instructors, support staff and aircraft maintenance that are 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.