816 Squadron RAN

816 Squadron is a Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron that started out as a Royal Navy unit 816 Naval Air Squadron.

816 Squadron
816sqn crest
Unit badge for 816 Squadron
Active1948–1987
1992–Current
Country Australia
Branch Royal Australian Navy (1948–1967)
 Royal Australian Navy (1967–Present)
TypeShip-based helicopter squadron
RoleSmall ship flights
SizeOne squadron
Part ofFleet Air Arm
Garrison/HQNAS Nowra
Motto(s)Imitate the Action of the Tiger
EquipmentMH-60R Romeo
Commanders
Current
commander
Commander T. Glynn

Current roles

816 is currently active as a helicopter squadron equipped with MH-60R helicopters. The Squadron is based at HMAS Albatross (NAS Nowra) and primarily operates from the Navy's Adelaide and Anzac class frigates. 816 Squadron provides the fleet with anti-submarine and anti-surface surveillance capabilities.

History

S2G-lands-on-melbourne
An S-2G Tracker of 816 Squadron lands on HMAS Melbourne
RAN S-70B-2 Seahawk Avalon 2011
An 816 Squadron S-70B-2 Seahawk in 2011

816 Squadron was first formed as a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron in 1939 embarked in HMS Furious.

In 1948 816 Squadron was re-formed as a Royal Australian Navy FAA squadron operating Fairey Firefly aircraft. The Squadron formed part of the 20th Carrier Air Group embarked on HMAS Sydney. In 1952, 816 Squadron participated in the Montebello Islands atomic weapons tests and in 1953 saw service in the Korean War.

Over the following 40 years, 816 squadron was disbanded and re-formed several times as newer aircraft were introduced.

In 1956 with the arrival of HMAS Melbourne, 816 Squadron embarked as part of the 21st Carrier Air Group equipped with Gannet and Sea Venom aircraft. In 1967 the RAN acquired newer aircraft and Melbourne was extensively upgraded to handle the faster and heavier aircraft. 816 Squadron was re-equipped with Grumman S-2E Trackers.

On 5 December 1976, a fire was deliberately lit by a Fleet Air Arm member near the aircraft hangars at HMAS Albatross. The fire destroyed or seriously damaged twelve of the thirteen S-2 Trackers in the RAN's possession.[1][2] Subsequently, 15 second-hand S2-G Trackers were purchased from the US Government and all remaining serviceable or repairable S2-E Trackers were upgraded to the S-2G standard. 816 Squadron continued to operate S-2Gs until the decommissioning of HMAS Melbourne in 1982, when the Squadron was again disbanded.

From 1984 until 1987, 816 Squadron operated Westland Wessex helicopters in the Army support role.

816 Squadron was re-formed in 1992 to operate Sikorsky Seahawk helicopters. The squadron has embarked helicopters on RAN Adelaide class and Anzac class frigates and has participated in operations including in the Persian Gulf.

The squadron will continue to operate the Seahawk after the retirement of the S-70B-2 model. On 13 December 2012 it was announced that 816 Squadron will transition to the new MH-60R Seahawk, with 725 Squadron being reformed to be the training squadron.[3]

Aircraft

Current RAN service

Previous RAN service

RN service

References

  1. ^ Lind, Lew (1986) [1982]. The Royal Australian Navy – Historic Naval Events Year by Year (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Reed Books. p. 291. ISBN 0-7301-0071-5. OCLC 16922225.
  2. ^ Hall, Timothy (1982). HMAS Melbourne. North Sydney, NSW: George Allen & Unwin. p. 19. ISBN 0-86861-284-7. OCLC 9753221.
  3. ^ Clare, Jason. "Joint Media Release – Capability Update – Air Projects". Minister of Defence Material. Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2012.

Sources

816 Naval Air Squadron

816 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed at the start of the Second World War.

The squadron formed aboard HMS Furious in October 1939 with 9 Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers for anti-submarine duty on convoys between the UK and Canada

In 1948 it was re-formed as 816 Squadron RAN an Australian squadron with the Fairey Firefly and embarked on HMAS Sydney.

851 Squadron RAN

851 Squadron was a Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron. The squadron operated over two periods between 1954 and 1984, mainly in the training and transport roles.

Australian contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq

The Howard Government supported the disarmament of Iraq during the Iraq disarmament crisis. Australia later provided one of the four most substantial combat force contingents during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the operational codename Operation Falconer. Part of its contingent were among the first forces to enter Iraq after the official "execute" order. The initial Australian force consisted of three Royal Australian Navy ships, a 500-strong special forces task group, two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, two B707 Air-to-Air refuelling aircraft, C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and No. 75 Squadron RAAF (which included 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighters). Combat forces committed to Operation Falconer for the 2003 Invasion were withdrawn during 2003. Under the name Operation Catalyst, Australian combat troops were redeployed to Iraq in 2005, however, and assumed responsibility for supporting Iraqi security forces in one of Iraq's southern provinces. These troops began withdrawing from Iraq on 1 June 2008 and were completely withdrawn by 28 July 2009.

Fairey Firefly

The Fairey Firefly was a Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft principally operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was developed and built by the British aircraft manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company.

Development of the Firefly can be traced back to pair of specifications issued by the British Air Ministry in 1938, calling for new naval fighter designs. Designed to the contemporary FAA concept of a two-seat fleet reconnaissance/fighter, the pilot and navigator/weapons officer were positioned at separate stations. In flight, the Firefly was superior in terms of both performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fairey Fulmar. Due to a protracted development, the type only entered operational service towards the end of the conflict, at which point it was no longer competitive as a fighter. The limitations of a single engine in a relatively heavy airframe reduced its performance, but the Firefly proved to be fairly sturdy, long-ranged, and docile aircraft during carrier operations.

The Fairey Firefly served in the Second World War as a fleet fighter. During the post-war era, it was soon superseded in the fighter role by the arrival of more modern jet aircraft, thus the Firefly was adapted to perform in other roles, including strike operations and anti-submarine warfare. In these capacities, it remained a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s. Both British and Australian Fireflies routinely performed ground–attack operations from various aircraft carriers during the Korean War. In foreign service, the type was in operation with the naval air arms of Australia, Canada, India and the Netherlands. As late as 1962, Dutch Fireflies were used to carry out attack sorties against Indonesian infiltrators in Dutch New Guinea. Its final uses was found in various secondary roles, such as trainers, target tugs and drone aircraft.

Fairey Gannet

The Fairey Gannet is a British carrier-borne aircraft of the post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA) by the Fairey Aviation Company. It was a mid-wing monoplane with a tricycle undercarriage and a crew of three, and a double turboprop engine driving two contra-rotating propellers.

The Gannet was originally developed to meet the FAA's dual-role anti-submarine warfare and strike requirement. It was later adapted for operations as an electronic countermeasures and carrier onboard delivery aircraft. The Gannet AEW.3 was a variant of the aircraft developed as a carrier-based airborne early warning platform.

HMAS Melbourne (R21)

HMAS Melbourne (R21) was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Operating from 1955 until 1982, she was the third and final conventional aircraft carrier to serve in the RAN. Melbourne was the only Commonwealth naval vessel to sink two friendly warships in peacetime collisions.The ship was laid down for the Royal Navy as the lead ship of the Majestic class in April 1943, and was launched as HMS Majestic (R77) in February 1945. At the end of World War II, work on the ship was suspended until she was purchased by the RAN in 1947. At the time of purchase, it was decided to incorporate new aircraft carrier technologies into the design, making Melbourne the third ship to be constructed with an angled flight deck. Delays in construction and integrating the enhancements meant that the carrier was not commissioned until 1955.

Melbourne never fired a shot in anger during her career, having only peripheral, non-combat roles in relation to the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation and the Vietnam War. She was, however, involved in two major collisions with allied vessels; though Melbourne was found not to be the primary cause of either incident. The first occurred on the evening of 10 February 1964, in which Melbourne rammed and sank the RAN destroyer HMAS Voyager, when the latter altered course across her bow. Eighty-two of Voyager's personnel were killed, and two Royal Commissions were held to investigate the incident. The second collision occurred in the early morning of 3 June 1969, when Melbourne also rammed the United States Navy (USN) destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in similar circumstances. Seventy-four American personnel died, and a joint USN–RAN Board of Inquiry was held. These incidents, along with several minor collisions, shipboard accidents, and aircraft losses, led to the reputation that Melbourne was jinxed.Melbourne was paid off from RAN service in 1982. A proposal to convert her for use as a floating casino failed, and a 1984 sale was cancelled, before she was sold for scrap in 1985 and towed to China for breaking. The scrapping was delayed so Melbourne could be studied by the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as part of a secret project to develop a Chinese aircraft carrier and used to train PLAN aviators in carrier flight operations.

History of the Royal Australian Navy

The history of the Royal Australian Navy traces the development of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from the colonisation of Australia by the British in 1788. Until 1859, vessels of the Royal Navy made frequent trips to the new colonies. In 1859, the Australia Squadron was formed as a separate squadron and remained in Australia until 1913. Until Federation, five of the six Australian colonies operated their own colonial naval force, which formed on 1 March 1901 the Australian Navy's (AN) Commonwealth Naval Force which received Royal patronage in July 1911 and was from that time referred to as Royal Australian Navy (RAN). On 4 October 1913 the new replacement fleet for the foundation fleet of 1901 steamed through Sydney Heads for the first time.

The Royal Australian Navy has seen action in every ocean of the world. It first saw action in World War I, in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. Between the wars the RAN's fortunes shifted with the financial situation of Australia: it experienced great growth during the 1920s, but was forced to reduce its fleet and operations during the 1930s. Consequently, when it entered World War II, the RAN was smaller than it had been at the start of World War I. During the course of World War II, the RAN operated more than 350 fighting and support ships; a further 600 small civilian vessels were put into service as auxiliary patrol boats. (Contrary to some claims, however, the RAN was not the fifth-largest navy in the world at any point during World War II.)

Following World War II, the RAN saw action in Korea, Vietnam, and other smaller conflicts. Today, the RAN consists of a small but modern force, widely regarded as one of the most powerful forces in the Asia Pacific Region.

List of Australian Fleet Air Arm flying squadrons

This is a list of Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm flying squadrons. The Fleet Air Arm was founded in 1947. Since then the Royal Australian Navy has formed a number of squadrons which have operated a range of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from aircraft carriers, other warships, and shore establishments.

List of Fleet Air Arm aircraft squadrons

This is a list of Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1950–1954)

This is a list of notable accidents and incidents involving military aircraft grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred. Not all of the aircraft were in operation at the time. Combat losses are not included except for a very few cases denoted by singular circumstances.

List of aircraft of the Royal Australian Navy

This is a list of aircraft of the Royal Australian Navy.

Operation Astute

Operation Astute was an Australian-led military deployment to East Timor to quell unrest and return stability in the 2006 East Timor crisis. It was headed by Brigadier Bill Sowry, and commenced on 25 May 2006 under the command of Brigadier Michael Slater. The operation was established at the request of East Timor's government, and continues under an understanding reached between Australia, East Timor, and the United Nations, with the United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor supporting and helping to develop East Timor's police force. Other countries deploying soldiers to East Timor include Malaysia, New Zealand and East Timor's former colonial power Portugal, operating under independent command.

Westland Wessex

The Westland Wessex was a British-built turbine-powered development of the Sikorsky H-34. It was developed and produced under licence by Westland Aircraft (later Westland Helicopters). One of the main changes from Sikorsky's H-34 was the replacement of the piston-engine powerplant with a turboshaft engine. Early models were powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine, while later builds used a pair of de Havilland Gnome engines.

The Wessex was initially produced for the Royal Navy (RN) and later for the Royal Air Force (RAF); a limited number of civilian aircraft were also produced, as well as some export sales. The Wessex operated as an anti-submarine warfare and utility helicopter; it is perhaps best recognised for its use as a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter. The type entered operational service in 1961, and had a service life in excess of 40 years before being retired in Britain.

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