The Fleet Air Arm (FAA), known formally as the Australian Navy Aviation Group, is the division of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) responsible for the operation of aircraft. The FAA was founded in 1947 following the purchase of two aircraft carriers from the Royal Navy. FAA personnel fought in the Korean War (operating from the carrier HMAS Sydney) and the Vietnam War (attached to a Royal Australian Air Force squadron and a United States Army Aviation company), and participated in later conflicts and operations from host warships.
Initially operating only fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters were first acquired by the FAA in 1952, forming Australia's first helicopter squadron. Helicopter usage increased over time, particularly after 1982, when the carrier HMAS Melbourne was decommissioned and not replaced. In 2000, following the removal from service of the land-based Hawker Siddeley HS 748 aircraft, the FAA became an all-helicopter force, operating in the anti-submarine warfare and maritime support roles. As of 2018, the FAA consists of five active squadrons, operating four helicopter types and two types of UAVs.
|Fleet Air Arm|
Fleet Air Arm emblem
|Founded||3 July 1947|
|Part of||Royal Australian Navy|
|Website||Royal Australian Navy – Fleet Air Arm|
|Commander, Fleet Air Arm||Commodore Chris Smallhorn|
|Trainer||Bell 429 Eurocopter EC135|
During the 1920s, the RAN attempted to acquire government support for an Australian Fleet Air Arm, modelled loosely on the Royal Naval Air Service and its Royal Air Force-controlled successor, the Fleet Air Arm. This was approved as part of improvements to Australia's military, but opposition by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) prompted the Cabinet to disband the organisation in January 1928, shortly after its establishment. The RAAF assumed responsibility for naval aviation, which consisted primarily of amphibious aircraft flown by No. 101 Flight RAAF (and its successors, No. 5 Squadron, then No. 9 Squadron) from the RAN's cruisers and the seaplane tender HMAS Albatross.
The successes of naval aviation during World War II reignited the idea of a RAN-controlled aviation force, with suggestions that Australia provide the personnel to operate a British aircraft carrier and the attached squadrons voiced during 1944, although the offer was withdrawn in mid 1945 because of manpower shortages. A review by the Australian Government's Defence Committee held after World War II recommended that the post-war forces of the RAN be structured around a Task Force incorporating multiple aircraft carriers. Initial plans were for three carriers, with two active and a third in reserve, although funding cuts led to the purchase of the Majestic class light fleet carriers, Majestic and Terrible from the Royal Navy in June 1947. A Fleet Air Arm was established on 3 July 1947 by the Commonwealth Defence Council to operate aircraft from these two carriers, and also maintain two former Royal Australian Air Force bases as support facilities: these became HMAS Albatross at Nowra, New South Wales, and HMAS Nirimba at Schofields, New South Wales. As Terrible was the closer of the two ships to completion, construction was finished without major modification. The ship was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Sydney on 16 December 1948. Sydney's maiden voyage saw the delivery of the first two squadrons operated by the Fleet Air Arm: 805 Squadron with Hawker Sea Furies, and 816 Squadron with Fairey Fireflies. The two squadrons operated as the 20th Carrier Air Group (CAG). Sydney returned to England in 1950 to collect the 21st CAG: 808 and 817 Squadrons, with Sea Furies and Fireflies, respectively.
During the Korean War, Sydney was deployed to Korean waters in late 1951, with a wartime CAG of 805, 808, and 817 Squadrons embarked. The Fleet Air Arm operated in a strike, ground support, and escort role during the deployment, which saw three RAN pilots killed and a fourth seriously wounded, while thirteen aircraft were lost. Nine of these were shot down by North Korean flak artillery, with aircraft damaged by flak on at least ninety other occasions. The other four were lost in deck accidents, or crashed because of foul weather. Meanwhile, Majestic was undergoing major upgrades during construction to operate jet aircraft, including the installation of an angled flight deck, steam catapult, and a mirror landing aid. To allow the RAN to operate as a two-carrier force while Majestic was completed, the Royal Navy loaned the Colossus class light carrier HMS Vengeance to the RAN in late 1952. Vengeance arrived in Australia with three Bristol Sycamore helicopters for the Fleet Air Arm. Although not the first helicopters to see military service in Australia (that title belonging to a Sikorsky S-51 of the Royal Australian Air Force), the Sycamores formed the first Australian military helicopter squadron, and prompted the establishment of Australia's first helicopter pilot school.
Vengeance was returned to the United Kingdom in 1955, with the crew transferred to Majestic, which was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Melbourne on 28 October 1955. The new carrier delivered new aircraft to the Fleet Air Arm: the de Havilland Sea Venom jet fighter-bomber for 805 and 808 Squadrons, and the turboprop-driven Fairey Gannet anti-submarine aircraft for 816 and 817 Squadrons. These aircraft were due to become obsolete in the late 1950s, and the RAN considered purchasing modern aircraft of French or Italian design, which were smaller than British developments and better suited to light carrier operations. By the end of the 1950s, with Sydney decommissioned from service and refitted as a troop transport, it was decided that fixed-wing naval aviation would be replaced by a force of 27 Westland Wessex anti-submarine helicopters, to operate from Melbourne. This decision was rescinded in 1963, with Grumman S-2E Tracker anti-submarine aircraft and McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk fighter aircraft ordered for the Fleet Air Arm. Although Melbourne and her air group played no role in the Vietnam War, Australian naval aviators saw action as part of Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam (a component of the joint Australian-American Experimental Military Unit) and the RAN Detachment, 9 Squadron Vietnam (attached to No. 9 Squadron RAAF).
In 1972, the Fleet Air Arm's Wessex helicopters were replaced with Westland Sea King anti-submarine helicopters, although a small number of Wessexes continued to serve in utility and search-and-rescue roles. Melbourne remained in service until mid-1982, when she was placed in reserve. The Australian government initially planned to purchase HMS Invincible from the Royal Navy and operate Harriers and helicopters from her, but the British withdrew the offer after the ship's performance in the Falklands War, and the 1983 election of the Australian Labor Party saw the cancellation of plans to replace Melbourne. With no aircraft carrier, carrier-borne fixed-wing aviation in the RAN ended on 30 June 1983 with the decommissioning of several squadrons, and many RAN pilots joined the Army and RAAF, or transferred to the aviation branches of other nations' navies. The RAN Skyhawks were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Trackers were removed from service and sold to a private company for disposal.
Before being sold off, the RAN Trackers were flown from land bases as patrol and surveillance aircraft, and HS 748 aircraft continued on in the electronic warfare training and transport roles after all other fixed-wing assets were disposed of. The shift from full, carrier-embarked squadrons to single- or two-helicopter flights operating from frigates forced overhauls of the management and organisational style of the FAA, with squadrons made to act with increasing independence and less experienced junior officers taking greater responsibility for the aviation activities of their assigned ship. During the 1980s, the Eurocopter Ecureuil (Squirrel) and Sikorsky S-70 Seahawk were acquired to operate from the Adelaide class frigates. During the early 1990s, these helicopters operated aboard Australian ships deployed to support the international coalition during the Gulf War; they were used for anti-air surveillance and surface search, to deliver boarding parties to interdicted ships, and provide search-and-rescue capabilities. During 1992, FAA Sea Kings were embarked aboard HMAS Tobruk for Operation Solace, part of the famine-relief operation in Somalia.
During the 1990s, the FAA ordered several refurbished Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters to operate from the Anzac class frigates in the anti-submarine and anti-surface roles. Although due to enter service in the early 2000s, the helicopters were not operational until 2006, and were grounded shortly after with concerns over their airworthiness, flight control system, crash survivability, and inability to operate in poor weather. The delays and problems with the acquisition led to the cancellation of the project in March 2008, and the completed helicopters were returned to Kaman. These airframes were subsequently purchased by the RNZAF to replace their existing SH-2 fleet.
Since 2000, when the last pair of HS 748s were retired, the Fleet Air Arm has been an entirely rotary-winged force.(I) The Fleet Air Arm became responsible for the operation and maintenance of the RAN's helicopter force from the frigates of the Adelaide and Anzac classes and from the RAN's amphibious and support ships.
RAN squadrons follow the same numbering system as those of the Royal Navy, with operational units numbered from 800 onwards and training units numbered from 700 onwards:
|723 Squadron||Rotary||Eurocopter EC135||Nowra||Helicopter Aircrew Training System Retention and Motivation Initiative II||Also provides the RAN helicopter display team|
|725 Squadron||Rotary||MH-60R Romeo Seahawk||Nowra||Conversion training (Romeo Seahawk)||Reformed 2013; operational 2015|
|808 Squadron||Rotary||MRH-90 Taipan||Nowra||Tactical Transport|
|816 Squadron||Rotary||MH-60R Romeo Seahawk||Nowra||Small ship flights|
|822X Squadron||UAV||Insitu ScanEagle||Nowra||Trials unit|
723 Squadron was the last unit in the Fleet Air Arm to operate fixed wing aircraft, when it withdrew its pair of HS 748s in June 2000. The last operational fixed wing squadron was 851 Squadron, which operated both HS 748s and S-2 Trackers until it was disbanded in August 1984. 816 Squadron was one of the FAA's two carrier-based fixed wing units, operating the Tracker (the other being 805 Squadron operating the A-4 Skyhawk) when HMAS Melbourne was decommissioned in 1982.
An additional flying unit of the Royal Australian Navy is the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder Flight, based at Cairns, which operates the only remaining fixed-wing aircraft in the RAN's inventory. This unit however is not under the operational control of the Fleet Air Arm, but is instead part of the Australian Hydrographic Service, with both RAN and civilian personnel.
The RAN is not responsible for the initial basic and advanced flying training of its new aircrew. Basic flying training is undertaken by the tri-service Basic Flying Training School at Tamworth Airport, while advanced training for RAN pilots and training for observers is run by the Royal Australian Air Force:
Once RAN aircrew have passed through this process, they are posted to 723 Squadron for helicopter conversion training, before joining one of the two operational squadrons. 725 Squadron has been reformed to serve as a conversion unit for the new MH-60R Romeo Seahawk.
1: ^ Described as "Maritime Aviation Warfare Officers"
Since 2000, when the last pair of HS 748s were retired, the Fleet Air Arm has been an entirely rotary winged force. The most numerous aircraft in the FAA's current inventory is the S-70 Seahawk operated by 816 Squadron, which provides small ship's flights to the Adelaide class (up to 2 aircraft) and Anzac class (1 aircraft). These undertake numerous missions, including anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. The MRH-90 Taipan has replaced the Westland Sea King in the tactical transport and logistic support roles with 808 Squadron, operating from the RAN's amphibious support ships. A total of six of these aircraft are owned and operated by the RAN, while another seven are shared with the Army. Air defence of the fleet is primarily the task of the Adelaide class guided missile frigates, armed with the SM-2 Standard SAM; these are supported when possible by the F/A-18 Hornets of the RAAF.
|Bombardier Dash 8||Canada||maritime patrol / SAR||1|
|SH-60 Seahawk||United States||ASW / SAR||SH-60R||24|
|Bell 429||United States||rotorcraft trainer||4|
In the 2009 Defence White Paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, the government stated that the RAN needed 24 new naval combat helicopters by 2014, to replace the Seahawks and compensate for the cancelled Super Seasprite acquisition. The requirement called for a helicopter capable of both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, as well as search-and-rescue and troop transport (primarily of boarding parties) roles. Two aircraft were considered: the NATO Frigate Helicopter variant of the NH90, and the MH-60 Romeo, a version of the Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk. In determining a replacement, it was considered that the NFH-90 had 80% commonality with the RAN and Army MRH-90s, and all airframes could be assembled at existing facilities in Queensland. Additionally, the type's corrosion-resistant composite fibre construction was assessed as providing better survivability in the event of crash at sea. However, the type had only become operational in 2010, although it had been on order with several European navies before this. In contrast, the MH-60 Romeo had been operational with the United States Navy since the end of 2005, and the commonality with the RAN's existing Seahawks would cut down on refamiliarisation training for pilots and maintenance personnel, the airframe has less interior space than the NFH-90 for the same approximate external size. By October 2009, the RAN was recommending the MH-60 Romeo, as they would be cheaper and less of a technological risk. On 1 June 2011, Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced that the MH-60 Romeo had been chosen, and the 24 helicopters would be delivered between 2014 and 2020.
Under current plans, the Royal Australian Navy's Canberra class amphibious vessels can accommodate up to eighteen helicopters. Although the ships are potentially capable of operating STOVL fixed-wing aircraft, such as the F-35B Lightning and the V-22 Osprey, the operation of fixed-wing aircraft was not a tender criterion, and despite numerous suggestions, the Australian Government indicated that it did not intend to purchase fixed wing aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm to operate from the Canberra class. However, in 2014, both Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister, and David Johnston, the Minister for Defence indicated that the 2015 Defence White Paper could potentially consider the purchase of a number of F-35B aircraft as part of the final tranche of F-35 orders for Australia. In mid-2015, following evidence presented to a committee of the Australian Senate in which the Department of Defence conceded that there would be significant costs in adapting the two Canberra-class ships to operate the F-35B, the plan was dropped from the intended list of proposals that would be included in the government's upcoming defence white paper.
Examples of many aircraft operated by the Fleet Air Arm are on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross
|Fairey Firefly||United Kingdom||fighter-bomber||108||carrier-based aircraft - retired in 1958|
|Hawker Sea Fury||United Kingdom||fighter-bomber||101||carrier-based aircraft - retired in 1962|
|Fairey Gannet||United Kingdom||fighter-bomber / ASW||36||carrier-based aircraft - retired in 1967|
|de Havilland Sea Venom||United Kingdom||fighter-bomber / ASW||39||carrier-based aircraft – retired in 1967|
|Grumman S-2||United States||ASuW / ASW||32||carrier-based aircraft - retired in 1984|
|A-4 Skyhawk||United States||fighter-bomber||A-4G||20||carrier-based aircraft - retired in 1984|
|Supermarine Sea Otter||United Kingdom||SAR / transport||3||in service from 1948 to 1954|
|Douglas C-47||United States||transport||4||in service from 1949 to 1977|
|Auster Autocar||United Kingdom||transport / communications||2||in service from 1953 to 1965|
|Hawker Siddeley HS 748||United Kingdom||transport / EW||2||in service from 1973 to 2000|
|Bristol Sycamore||United Kingdom||utility / liaison||13||in service from 1953 to 1965|
|Westland Wessex||United Kingdom||ASW / SAR||27||in service from 1962 to 1989|
|Westland Scout||United Kingdom||patrol / SAR||2||in service from 1963 to 1977|
|Bell UH-1||United States||utility||UH-1D/C||7||in service from 1964 to 1987|
|Bell OH-58||United States||utility||OH-58B||4||in service from 1974 to 2000|
|Westland Sea King||United Kingdom||ASW / SAR||Mk 50A||2||in service from 1976 to 2011|
|SH-2G Super Seasprite||United States||ASW / SAR||15||in service from 2001 to 2008|
|CAC Wirraway||Australia||trainer||17||in service from 1948 to 1957|
|de Havilland Tiger Moth||Australia||trainer||3||in service from 1948 to 1957|
|de Havilland Vampire||United States||jet trainer||13||in service from 1954 to 1972|
|Aermacchi MB-326||Italy||jet trainer||10||in service from 1970 to 1983|
|Eurocopter AS350||France||rotorcraft trainer||24||in service from 1984 to 2017|
|Northrop KD2R-5||United States||target drone||in service from 1965 to 1973|
|GAF Turana||Australia||target drone||in service from 1966 to 2000|
|GAF Jindivik||Australia||target drone||in service from 1966 to 2000|
|Beechcraft MQM-107||United States||target drone||MQM-107E||in service from 1998 to 2008|
^(II) Refers to the number of individual aircraft operated by the FAA over the entire service life, not the number of aircraft in operation at any point within that service life.
The Aermacchi or Macchi MB-326 is a light military jet trainer designed in Italy. Originally conceived as a two-seat trainer, there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced. It is one of the most commercially successful aircraft of its type, being bought by more than 10 countries and produced under licence in Australia, Brazil and South Africa. It set many category records, including an altitude record of 56,807 ft (17,315 m) on 18 March 1966. More than 800 MB-326s were constructed between 1961–1975.The MB-326 had been developed and ordered during a period in which "all-through" jet training was considered by many air forces to be the most cost-effective model for training of military pilots. It was intended to provide a single type of aircraft that could be used to perform both elementary and advanced training right through to a near combat-ready standard. In practice, it was soon discovered that the simplicity and economy of scale of operating just one type for all training purposes was outweighed by the purchase and operating costs of a large all-jet training fleet. Many operators soon switched to operating the MB-326 in conjunction with a cheaper piston-engined type for basic training purposes. Over time, the MB-326 found its primary role as a lead-in trainer to prepare pilots for transition to very high performance fighter aircraft.De Havilland Tiger Moth
The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s British biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moths operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance and defensive anti-invasion preparations; some aircraft were even outfitted to function as armed light bombers.
The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until it was succeeded and replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk during the early 1950s. Many of the military surplus aircraft subsequently entered into civil operation. Many nations have used the Tiger Moth in both military and civil applications, and it remains in widespread use as a recreational aircraft in several countries. It is still occasionally used as a primary training aircraft, particularly for those pilots wanting to gain experience before moving on to other tailwheel aircraft. Many Tiger Moths are now employed by various companies offering trial lesson experiences. The de Havilland Moth club, founded in 1975, is now an owners' association offering a mutual club and technical support.FAA (disambiguation)
FAA most commonly refers to the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency of the United States federal government.
FAA may also refer to:
Faa, surname or epithet of the family of the King of the Gypsies in Scotland
FAA 81 (Spanish: Fusil Automático Argentino, "Argentine Automatic Rifle"), also known as FARA 83
Faà di Bruno, an Italian noble family based in the areas of Asti, Casale
Faranah Airport, Guinea (by IATA code)
Fatty acid amide, a family of biochemicals
Federación Agraria Argentina, an Argentine agrarian workers' trade union
Federació Andorrana d'Atletisme, the governing body for the sport of athletics in Andorra
Federação Angolana de Atletismo, the governing body for the sport of athletics in Angola
Federal Arbitration Act, a United States legal statute
Feildians Athletic Association, an athletic club based in St. John's, Canada
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
Fetch-and-add, a special CPU instruction
Finland Steamship Company (Finska Ångfartygs Aktiebolag, FÅA)
FISA Amendments Act
Fleet Air Arm, aviation component of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy
Fleet Air Arm (RAN), the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Australian Navy
Food Addicts Anonymous, a twelve-step program for people with food addictions
Angolan Armed Forces (Forças Armadas de Angola)
Formalin-acetic acid-alcohol, a solution used in fixing tissue samples
Fuerza Aérea Argentina, the Argentine Air ForceGAF Jindivik
The GAF Jindivik is a radio-controlled target drone produced by the Australian Government Aircraft Factories (GAF). The name is from an Aboriginal Australian word meaning "the hunted one". Two manually-controlled prototypes, were built as the GAF Pika (Project C) as a proof of concept to test the aerodynamics, engine and radio control systems, serialled A92-1/2, 'B-1/2'. The radio-controlled Jindivik was initially designated the Project B and received serials in the A93 series. Pika is an Aboriginal Australian word meaning flier.Hawker Siddeley HS 748
The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 is a medium-sized turboprop airliner originally designed and initially produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Avro. It was the last aircraft to be developed by Avro prior to its dissolution.
The HS 748 was developed during the late 1950s as a move to re-orientate the company towards the civil and export markets. Powered by the popular Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine, it was specifically designed as a modern feederliner to act as a replacement for the aging Douglas DC-3s then in widespread service. Originally intended to seat a smaller number of passengers, market research indicated that a seating capacity of around 40 passengers would be optimal for the type. As a means to differentiate the new airliner from competitors, it was designed to possess a high level of performance, including its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities and overall ruggedness. First flying on 24 June 1960, the series 1 HS 748 entered revenue service during the following year.
Once in service, the HS 748 found itself a niche within the short-haul market. Several different models would be developed of the regional airliner, typical improvements being the adoption of increasingly powerful Dart engines and a higher gross weight. Perhaps the most distinct variant was the HS 780 Andover, a dedicated military transport model developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) that featured a large rear loading ramp and a squatting main landing gear to assist in loading bulky freight items. By 1988, the year in which production of the type was terminated, 380 aircraft had been produced between Hawker Siddeley (the owning company of Avro) and Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). During the 1990s, a larger, stretched development of the HS 748, the BAe ATP, was developed and had attempted to compete with market leaders such as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 and ATR 42, but saw only limited sales prior to production being terminated.List of Bell UH-1 Iroquois operators
This page is a list of countries which have used or are current users of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois or are military users of the Bell 204 and 205, along with their military units.Naval Air Arm
The term Naval Air Arm or Fleet Air Arm refers to the naval aviation branch of several naval forces, including:
The Indian Naval Air Arm
The Pakistan Naval Air Arm
The Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy
The Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm (RAN)Naval aviation
Naval aviation is the application of military air power by navies, whether from warships that embark aircraft, or land bases.
Naval aviation is typically projected to a position nearer the target by way of an aircraft carrier. Carrier-based aircraft must be sturdy enough to withstand demanding carrier operations. They must be able to launch in a short distance and be sturdy and flexible enough to come to a sudden stop on a pitching flight deck; they typically have robust folding mechanisms that allow higher numbers of them to be stored in below-decks hangars and small spaces on flight decks. These aircraft are designed for many purposes, including air-to-air combat, surface attack, submarine attack, search and rescue, matériel transport, weather observation, reconnaissance and wide area command and control duties.Terence Bourke, 10th Earl of Mayo
Terence Patrick Bourke, 10th Earl of Mayo (26 August 1929 – 22 September 2006) spent much of his life in England, before moving to Ireland and finally France. He was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, ran a printing company, attempted to be elected as an MP in England, ran a marble quarrying company, and finally bred deer in south-west France.Westland Sea King
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs considerably from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines (derived from the US General Electric T58), British-made anti-submarine warfare systems and a fully computerised flight control system. The Sea King was primarily designed for performing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. A Sea King variant was adapted by Westland as troop transport known as the Commando.
In British service, the Westland Sea King provided a wide range of services in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. As well as wartime roles in the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, the Sea King is perhaps most well known in its capacity as a Royal Navy Search and Rescue (red and grey livery) and RAF Search and Rescue Force (yellow livery) helicopter. The Sea King was also adapted to meet the Royal Navy's requirement for a ship-based airborne early warning platform.
On 26 September 2018, the last remaining Sea King variant in Royal Navy service was retired. Most operators have replaced, or are planning to replace, the Sea King with more modern helicopters, such as the NHIndustries NH90 and the AgustaWestland AW101. HeliOperations continue to operate two Mk 5 Sea Kings, based at RNAS Portland, training Federal German Navy pilots.