Australian Amphib Embarks 2 US Ospreys for RIMPAC 2022

Australian Amphib Embarks 2 US Ospreys for RIMPAC 2022

3-Aug-2022 Source: US Military


The flight deck of HMAS Canberra, Australia’s Landing Helicopter Dock, is a hive of activity as international aircraft land and take off from her deck for the sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.

Lieutenant Sam Laidlaw, one of Canberra’s flight control officers, is responsible for air movements on and off the ship and said it has been a great opportunity to work with international partners and understand the differences in operating procedures.

“Whilst preparing to conduct flying operations I speak with the officer of the watch who is driving the ship to make sure we have a shared understanding of the intended sequence of events for the day,” Lieutenant Laidlaw said. “Together, we establish a plan for de-conflicting concurrent operations and develop a plan that will put us on the right course to achieve the ship’s helicopter operating limits (SHOL), or in the case of the current aircraft we have embarked being the MV-22B ship’s tilt rotor operating limits (STROL), which ensures appropriate wind speed and direction for flying operations.

During RIMPAC, Canberra has embarked two United States MV-22B Osprey military aircraft and their crews.

“The purpose of RIMPAC is about learning to work together with partner nations and building on lessons learned. In aviation operations communications are usually highly standardized, which helps to remove ambiguity in a dynamic environment,” Lieutenant Laidlaw said. “By integrating with international partners, we gain a much better appreciation of our differences, which allows us to learn from each other, communicate better, and operate together more seamlessly.”

Captain Caleb Bubash, based in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, is one of those onboard and said it has been very valuable to work alongside the Australian team and provided a great opportunity to take back important information back to his colleagues.

“A good take away for us is appreciating what communications are really needed and what isn’t on the airway, so we don’t clog up the network,” Captain Bubash said. “It has been a great experience onboard; the ship is easy to navigate around, the Australians have been so accommodating and the food is great.”

One lesson which has provided some interest is the true north and magnetic north point of difference.

At sea the Royal Australian Navy’s air operations are conducted in true north, which was identified during the first recovery of the MV-22B.

Lieutenant Laidlaw explained that when the ship was driving its course making sure they were in the STROL, what the MV-22B crew onboard the aircraft saw on their heading indicator was about a 9-degree variant.

“This came down to us operating in true north and the USA pilots operating in magnetic north,” he said. “In this instance, it proved to be inconsequential since all operations with visiting aircraft are conducted with good visibility and communications, but now we know we can account for this on both sides moving forward and for planning with other international aircraft.”

HMAS Canberra will continue its air operations with international partners and allies during the sea phase of RIMPAC which will have an enduring purpose, facilitating more seamless integration in the future.

Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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