Boeing Defence Australia’s (BDA) Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) has provided training device support and pilot instruction to keep New South Wales (NSW) Police Aviation flying during the COVID-19 pandemic. It marks the first time in Australia that a military rotary wing flight simulator has achieved dual military and civilian qualifications.

HATS was set up at HMAS Albatross at Nowra, NSW to support the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm 723 Squadron to train the next generation of Navy and Australian Army aircrew transitioning to Australia’s future combat helicopters. When the NSW Police could not access their usual overseas training last September-November due to pandemic travel restrictions, HATS banded together with Defence and industry partners to provide EC-135 aircraft simulator instruction so the Force could keep its aircraft flying.

BDA’s director of Sustainment Operations, Amy List, said the project’s success was due to the collaboration and teamwork between HATS and NSW Police, Defence, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Thales Australia, which delivers the HATS synthetic training device support and sustainment under subcontract to BDA. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, HATS was able to deliver to both our customer and the NSW Police to ensure officers gained the necessary training and qualifications so they could continue their vital role of keeping the people of NSW safe,” List said. “Our ability to quickly respond to an urgent civilian training need while still delivering to our military customers speaks volumes about our world-class team and the sovereign capability we’ve established in Australia.”

Director General Navy Aviation, Aircrew Training and Commons Commodore Darren Rae praised all involved. “The team in the Navy Aviation Systems Program Office worked across multiple government organisations and industry partners to achieve this outstanding outcome for the NSW Police,” Rae said. “A tremendous effort was required from the Systems Program Office and our partners at Boeing Defence Australia and Thales Australia to meet the rigorous requirements of civilian qualification in a compressed timeframe.”

NSW Police Aviation Commander Superintendent Matt Appleton said having access to the simulation training was vital for the force’s pilots. “Despite the current pandemic, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure that our officers receive the necessary training and qualifications – we’re very grateful that we can utilise this simulation training so we can continue to provide excellent service to the people of NSW,” Appleton said.


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