Seahawk ‘Skeletor’ retires from RAN service

Navy Seahawk Helicopter N24-011 takes off for one last time at Australia's main operating base in the Middle East.
Seahawk N24-011 at Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. (Defence)

A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) S-70B-2 Seahawk anti-submarine helicopter known as ‘Skeletor’ has flown its last operational flight, ending a career logging 6,200 airframe hours and spanning more than 28 years of service.

The RAN retired N24-011 during a maintenance period for Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta in Bahrain, while deployed on Operation MANITOU.

The helicopter’s final flight from the ship was into Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East, where the Seahawk was dismantled and prepared for transport back to Australia.

Defence stated on April 13 that an MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopter would soon be arriving in theatre so that HMAS Arunta can maintain its extended surveillance and interception capability as it patrols.

The RAN’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters are planned to be withdrawn from service in the 2017-18 financial year, and 11 airframes and associated inventory have been offered for commercial sale.

“The airframes were not included as sale items in the Australian Military Sales Equipment Catalogue as they are not in suitable condition to be offered to foreign governments,” a Defence spokesperson told Australian Defence Business Review on March 1. “The items available in the catalogue are a small subset of the Seahawk disposal program and consist of spare, airworthy parts.”

HMAS Arunta's S70-B Helicopter (Skeletor) lands onboard during a patrol in the Middle East region.