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Australian Navy commissions new helicopter

MRH 90 Taipan Multi-Role Helicopter. Photo: Australian Department of Defense.

CANBERRA (BNS): A new helicopter to be used by both the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army has been inducted into the Australian Defence Force Fleet, the Department of Defense said.

The commissioning ceremony at HMAS Albatross, near Nowra, NSW also marked the formal induction of 808 Squadron to operate the new MRH 90 Taipan Multi-Role Helicopter.

This commissioning ceremony is the culmination of three years of training, testing, development and trials to bring this new generation, high-tech aircraft into service. Further trials will be conducted with the aircraft after commissioning, it said.

Commander of the Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Tim Barrett said the Navy would use the aircraft for the maritime support role previously carried out by the now retired Sea King helicopter, while the Army would use it to replace its Blackhawk helicopters as a battlefield and special operations support helicopter.

808 Squadron was previously commissioned into the RAN during the 1950s when it operated fighter aircraft from the Navy's aircraft carriers HMA Ships Sydney and Melbourne.

The re-commissioned 808 Squadron not only inherits its predecessor's crest, battle honours and motto Strength in Unity, but also its legacy of operational excellence, courage under fire and of breaking new ground in naval aviation.

808 Squadron will be based at the Naval Air Station, HMAS Albatross and its aircraft will operate from the Navy's amphibious and afloat support ships such as HMA Ships Success, Tobruk and Choules.

In the future, these aircraft will also operate from the Navy's new 27,000-tonne Landing Helicopter Dock amphibious ships Canberra and Adelaide, it added.

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