Talent and innovation the key to success for Canberra’s engineering team

Published on LEUT Emily Kennedy (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Naval Engineering

NUSHIP Canberra’s POET Luke Porter (WEO1 Work Centre IC) and LSET Edward Hearsum (WEO3) pictured in front of their work in progress which will be shortly assessed as part of the regional Fleet Base East Navy Engineering Challenge championship. (photo: LEUT Emily Kennedy)
NUSHIP Canberra’s POET Luke Porter (WEO1 Work Centre IC) and LSET Edward Hearsum (WEO3) pictured in front of their work in progress which will be shortly assessed as part of the regional Fleet Base East Navy Engineering Challenge championship.

NUSHIP Canberra Weapons Electrical Engineering Department is using all its talent and innovation to design and develop an optical robotic fire control system as part of the Navy Engineering Challenge currently underway.

The team, named the 'Canberra Vikings', is juggling an extremely busy training and planning period as they prepare to bring the RAN’s first Landing Helicopter Dock into service early next year and finding time to build a fire control system designed to identify and track targets via a camera and illuminating laser.

POET Luke Porter said that his team is really keen to make a good go of it.

“Being a new department in Canberra, this is the first time we’ve participated and the Department’s first external competition.

“We have some very talented people in our team and the aim will be to set Canberra’s project apart from others with team members focussing on how we can design and build originality and points of difference into our system.

“For us, this is a really good chance to foster some teamwork prior to embarking the ship and operating as an effective engineering department at sea,” said PO Porter.

The Engineering Challenge so far has been just that – a challenge. With the large amount of weapons electrical engineering personnel in and out of training courses ahead of Canberra coming into service, it has been challenging achieving project continuity.

“The other challenge has been that the team started two weeks after the official Engineering Challenge start date due to non-availability of the Robotics kit in Sydney,” said PO Porter. The supply of the kits was delayed by the worldwide shortage of suitable laser modules that has now been rectified.

When asked if these challenges put them as the underdog to the competition – the team were quick to acknowledge that they suspected that other Navy teams in the competition may be facing similar challenges and they were getting on with the aim of making the best designed and innovative fire control system regardless.

Navy’s Electronics Challenge started in mid-July as part of the inaugural Engineering Challenge providing technical sailors the chance to demonstrate professional skills through healthy competition. The 'Canberra Vikings' will be competing in the regional competition within Fleet Base East, Sydney.

National championships are currently scheduled to be held in Sydney during December 2013. In recognition of their skills, national champions will qualify to wear a cuff-rate on ceremonial uniforms identifying them as champion technicians.