723 Squadron Receives New Bell 429 Helicopters
HMAS Albatross is now home to three new Bell 429 helicopters, with the aircraft obtained to provide flight training for 723 Squadron crews before they move to naval combat helicopters. Commanding Officer 723 Squadron, CMDR Matthew Shand, said the Bell helicopters have bolstered the squadron’s existing fleet of 13 AS350BA Squirrel helicopters.
With their composite construction, full glass cockpit and advanced systems, the aircraft will be leased from Raytheon Australia and are set to be the most modern naval aircraft in Australian skies. In preparation to receive the Bell helicopters, the squadron has been building its experience on three Agusta 109E aircraft, which were also on lease from Raytheon Australia.
CMDR Shand said training flights on the Agusta aircraft had provided valuable opportunities for junior aircrew to practise planning and executing tasks in a wide variety of environments. “We recently used the Agustas on a mission to Queensland where they were prepared to conduct relief operations during the floods”