Friday, July 7, 2017

Ex Talisman Saber 2017 - Australian Army Blackhawk and US Navy Seahawk Helicopters Start Flying Sorties from Rockhampton Airport on Friday

As 'Phase 1' of joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) ramps up over the latter part of this week and into next week, the number of movements into and around Rockhampton Airport is set to increase and on Friday 7 July, there were some interesting helicopter movements to accompany the 'Herc-a-thon' we posted about below!

Local plane spotter Daniel B was on hand as a pair of Australian Army Sikorsky S-70A-9 Blackhawk helicopters, along with a sole United States Navy (USN) Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk helicopter departed Rockhampton Airport for the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in formation as "Spartan".

The Blackhawks look to be A25-203 and A25-218, while the Seahawk appeared to be 165121 / NW-313.

Fellow US Navy Seahawk 163784 / NW-300 was also heard completing engine runs as "Firehawk 12" - indicative of them belonging to the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85 (HSC-85) "Firehawks".

Earlier, Army Blackhawk A25-225 was heard to complete a flight from Rockhampton Airport to Shoalwater Bay and back as "Centurion 225".  Two other Army Blackhawks (maybe the same ones as above?) were also heard completing nighttime circuits around Rockhampton Airport flying as "Spartan 71" and "Spartan 31".

Meanwhile, seemingly now based at Rockhampton, the United States Army (US Army) Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter 12-20435 departed from 'Camp Rocky' to Shoalwater Bay and back.  It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Stampede 01" and returned to 'Camp Rocky' via the Rockhampton Showgrounds suggesting that it may be on display at the Talisman Saber 2017 Open Day on Saturday 8 July.

File photo

Finally, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-SYJ "Choppa 27" was heard arriving into Rockhampton Airport very late on Friday 7 July.

It appears to have returned to the Bay a little while later.

Thanks guys!

Photos taken by Daniel Bishop, 'IAD' and Ben O'Dowd  ©

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