The first of three Bell Iroquois helicopters ordered for the RAN were received by the Fleet Air Arm.
The FAA entered a period of uncertainty in the early 1960s with the announcement that fixed wing naval aviation was to cease. Rotary-wing operations would remain taking on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) duties, a role far-removed from the tasks of 723 Squadron and its comparatively rudimentary Sycamores. Consideration turned to a replacement for the Sycamores with the Westland P531 Wasp emerging as the preferred option.
However, the Wasp’s high performance characteristics left little room for error and made it impractical as a trainer. The Minister for the Navy, Senator John Gorton, was instead convinced to purchase the American Bell UH-1B Iroquois utility helicopter, an aircraft which became an icon of the Vietnam conflict. The first Iroquois came into service in May 1964.