Deployable maintenance teams a force-multiplier

Published on LCdr Louis-Philippe Menard (author)

Location(s): Brisbane, QLD

Topic(s): Fleet Support Unit

Sailors from the Fleet Support Unit conduct maintenance work on the Canadian frigate HMCS Regina, alongside Brisbane, Australia. (photo: )
Sailors from the Fleet Support Unit conduct maintenance work on the Canadian frigate HMCS Regina, alongside Brisbane, Australia.

Projecting naval power into other regions of the world requires a significant sustainment effort and HMCS Regina, a Canadian frigate far from home in Australian waters, recently received a welcome boost in maintenance support when a small team of technicians from the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Support Unit showed up in Brisbane to lend the Canadians a hand.

Extending the theme of interoperability between Defence forces and demonstrating the strength of Australia’s military to military alliances, the Fleet Support Unit was able to deliver exceptional technical expertise to assist close allies through deployed maintenance support.

Leading Seaman Daniel Sigmund of the Fleet Support Unit conducts maintenance work on the Canadian frigate HMCS Regina, alongside Brisbane, Australia.

Leading Seaman Daniel Sigmund of the Fleet Support Unit conducts maintenance work on the Canadian frigate HMCS Regina, alongside Brisbane, Australia.

As Australia expands its task group capability internationally, being able to support allies may become a critical capability of the Fleet Support Unit.

Petty Officer Marine Technician Mark Steemson - a high power specialist working for Fleet Support Unit - said his team was looking to provide more support of this nature in the future. 

Petty Officer Steemson was part of the team who recently provided support to the Canadian frigate and said he fully enjoyed the opportunity to utilise his technical mastery in the process.

“Fleet Support Unit’s deployed maintenance teams continue to demonstrate the agility with which the Royal Australian navy can conduct overseas sustainment.

“I think it proves we can apply our technical mastery to enable the Navy’s international task groups,” he said.

For the small Fleet Support Unit team that offered assistance, the activity also offered the opportunity to share experiences and learn how things are done by other navies.

Seaman Marine Technician Daniel Palmer, who assisted with propulsion system maintenance, said he appreciated the professional development afforded by the opportunity.

“I had the chance to see first-hand how Canada’s experienced team of technicians applied best practice. It was excellent,” Seaman Palmer said.

So, what’s next for Fleet Support Unit’s deployed maintenance capability?

Following this proof-of-concept demonstration with Regina, Fleet Support Unit aims to have both the deployed maintenance capability and the ability to assist foreign allies enshrined earlier in the operational and exercise planning process.

Knowing that our allies can count on highly skilled, uniformed technical personnel to support their ongoing maintenance and rectify defects on the far side of the world is a considerable force multiplier as Australia aims to further its international cooperation in an allied task group setting.