Busy as a battle tanker

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Vaoafi Hart (author)

Topic(s): Training, Operation RESOLUTE, Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER, HMAS Success (OR 304)

HMAS Darwin conducts a replenishment at sea with HMAS Success, during Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 17. (photo: ABBM ISAAC INGUI)
HMAS Darwin conducts a replenishment at sea with HMAS Success, during Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 17.

The Royal Australian Navy works hard at protecting the seaborne trade on which Australia depends for its livelihood and wellbeing - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And few have exemplified that commitment this year more than HMAS Success and her crew.

In just three months after a long period alongside conducting maintenance, the Navy's battle tanker has been busy certifying the platform and training the crew to perform the scope of maritime operations necessary to regional security.

Commanding Officer, Commander Grant Zilko said Success was "straining at her lines" to get back to sea and do what she does best; providing logistic sustainment to the Fleet.

"Success has worked hard and achieved a great amount of work in such little time," Commander Zilko said.

She made a flying start to the year in January when she was approved to operate the MRH-90 helicopter by day and by night.

The certification to embark the world's most advanced troop transport helicopter gave the platform a host of new capabilities, including search and rescue, special operations and counter-terrorism missions.

The extra capability proved useful in February and March when Success took part in OCEAN EXPLORER, an exercise that was designed to train the Fleet in high-end war fighting.

Success' role as logistics coordinator was to organise and conduct fuel and stores transfers to the 13 participating warships from Australia, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer Andrew Tait said his small team came under a lot of pressure but performed well.

"The exercise provided invaluable lessons learnt to consider when planning the next exercises. It also ensured we collaborated with other departments, such as engineering and operations, to make sure we had a better awareness of whole ship function," Lieutenant Tait said.

At the completion of OCEAN EXPLORER, Success was tasked as a standimmediately began training for Operation RESOULTE.

RESOLUTE is the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the whole of Government effort to protect Australia's borders and off-shore maritime interests.

Navy's in-house training and assessment team, Sea Training Group, embarked to simulate boarding scenarios that the ship might encounter while patrolling Australia's northern waters.

Commander Zilko said the boarding team was excited by the opportunity to refine their procedures and improve their skills.

"The work up period was productive and enabled a significant increase in knowledge of RESOLUTE procedures, as well as an opportunity for our team to demonstrate their high level of proficiency in a number of areas," Commander Zilko said.

During this busy period, Success also managed to qualify 25 marine technicians in a variety of engineering skills.

It would appear the Navy's Battle Tanker is back in business for 2017.