Warfare students are put through their paces

Published on LEUT Dale Axford (author), SMNEW Emily-Kate Simmons (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East

Lieutenant Commander Simone Paterson makes preparations to conduct a live anti-aircraft gunnery firing onboard HMAS Sydney as a part of the Principle Warfare Officer's course.  (photo: Seaman Electronic Warfare Emily-)
Lieutenant Commander Simone Paterson makes preparations to conduct a live anti-aircraft gunnery firing onboard HMAS Sydney as a part of the Principle Warfare Officer's course.

HMA Ships Sydney, Parramatta and Stuart sailed from Fleet Base East on 24 November with the next generation of warfare officers and sailors embarked.

Having completed several months of classroom theory at the School of Maritime Warfare, and practical training in the warfare simulators at HMAS Watson, 38 students spent the week at sea proving their skills in the Warfare Assessment Week.

The students were part of Principal Warfare Officer, Combat Systems Supervisor and Anti-Submarine/Surface Aircraft Controller courses.

HMAS Rankin, along with aircraft from 816 and 725 Squadrons and Air Force's 92 Wing, provided realistic training support for the students. Air warfare exercises included support from Air Force's 76 Squadron in their highly manoeuvrable Hawk-127 lead-in fighter jet and from Pelair Australia.

Specialising as a Principal Warfare Officer - Navigator, Lieutenant Commander Simone Paterson said the week proved the importance of simulation training in achieving and sustaining a war-fighting culture. She said it was particularly useful in a modern Navy with competing priorities for training and operations.

“The skills I have developed in the simulator have prepared me well for directing live assets,” Lieutenant Commander Paterson said.

“Amongst others, we performed the duty of the Maritime Regional Air Defence Commander.

“It was a great experience to operate against live aircraft with the realistic jamming from Raytheon Australia’s Electronic Warfare aircraft adding further complexity to our training,” she said.

The success of the week was attributed to the efforts to prepare and coordinate all of the assets, as well as the support by ships' companies and a realistic opposition.