After completing Exercise Sea Explorer 2023, and a short stay at Townsville, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide (III) (L01), along with the Bay-class landing ship HMAS Choules (L100), have again been in waters off Bowen. They have been the launching points for various amphibious landing exercises on the Bowen foreshore, as well as multiple helicopter insertions of personnel and equipment into the Bowen township.
Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopters have been spotted completing operations along with Bowen foreshore. Chinooks A15-306, A15-308 and A15-310 have been photographed embarked on the HMAS Adelaide and completing several flights into the Bowen township.
United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft have also been seen landing on the deck of the HMAS Adelaide during the Exercise.
On Thursday 6 July, the airborne action was highlighted by two of the suspected three deployed Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) NH-90 helicopters which flew down from and back to Townsville. The two NH-90s were identified as NZ3301 and NZ3303 and flew together as “Warrior Black”.
The RNZAF has eight NH-90 helicopters in its fleet, which are operated by No. 3 Squadron and have been in full service since 2015. It’s thought that three NH-90s were flown over from New Zealand to Townsville on board a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Globemaster which completed three return flights between RNZAF Base Ohakea to Townsville Airport.
Exercise Sea Raider certified the Amphibious Ready Unit and saw the Australian Amphibious Force train closely with the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Choules, as well as a beach landing force comprising of infantry, armoured vehicles, artillery, aviation and logistic elements optimised for amphibious raids and assaults. The Sea Series of exercises enhances joint interoperability of the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious capabilities.
The Sea Series of exercises enhances joint interoperability of the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious capabilities.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotter James K for capturing these great photos from Bowen!
Photos taken by James Kirk ©
Additional photos from Defence Images...