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Australia proves out aviation training vessel's disaster relief capabilities

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is proving out the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities of its aviation training vessel, MV Sycamore , during its deployment with Operation 'Bushfire Assist'.

        working with HMAS
        during Operation 'Bushfire Assist'.
       (Commonwealth of Australia)

MV Sycamore working with HMAS Choules during Operation 'Bushfire Assist'. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The operation is the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF’s) contribution to the government’s ongoing bushfire-related rescue-and-recovery operations across the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

The Damen-built civilian registered Sycamore is normally utilised by the RAN as a platform to train its personnel in helicopter-related operations including deck landings and take-offs, helicopter in-flight refuelling (HIFR), and air traffic control.

But the 94 m ship is also equipped for secondary tasks such as torpedo and mine recovery operations, navigation training, dive support, and target towing, and has a large storage capacity suitable for providing HADR assistance.

Sycamore has thus far helped to evacuate more than 1,400 civilians from Mallacoota, Victoria while working with the RAN's Bay-class amphibious landing ship HMAS Choules , according to information published by the RAN’s Navy Daily on 24 January.

Sycamore played an instrumental part in the initial evacuation of Mallacoota,” said Captain Leif Maxfield, the commander of the Amphibious Task Group that is operating as part of Operation 'Bushfire Assist'.

“Having the smaller multi-role vessel working with us has provided flexibility and enabled a broader range of response options to the task group”, said Capt Maxfield.

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