All systems go on simulated training

Published on SBLT Jez Kokshoorn (author)

Location(s): HMAS Watson, Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Watson

Graduates of the pilot FCO Endorsement Course at the Systems Training School, HMAS Watson, with their instructor: CPOET Hunter-Wield, LSET Weeks, LSET Boyd, LSET Walsh, POET Bowden, LSET Draheim (Dux). (photo: Unknown)
Graduates of the pilot FCO Endorsement Course at the Systems Training School, HMAS Watson, with their instructor: CPOET Hunter-Wield, LSET Weeks, LSET Boyd, LSET Walsh, POET Bowden, LSET Draheim (Dux).

The Weapons Electrical Engineering and Warfare Communities have embraced Training Force’s first priority to increase the use of simulation in training by establishing a pilot Anzac Mk3 Fire Control Officer (FCO) Endorsement Course.

Two weeks ago five Electronic Technicians (ET) sailors were put to the test to complete their FCO training and endorsement. The course consisted of in-depth training in a wide variety of warfare serials. They were assessed over the final two weeks of the FCO course by an endorsed FCO instructor, qualified Principal Warfare Officer and an FFH Charge Qualified Staff Commanding Officer.

Before this course, FCOs were required to embark in an Anzac class FFH where they were put through a range of live Naval Gunfire, Anti-Surface and Anti-Air Warfare exercises. The process can be costly and challenging with the scarcity of supporting assets and explosive ordnance required. In 2012, just one ET was endorsed before December, creating workforce some stress on the category and deploying FFHs.

Simulation provides a similar experience as a real warfare serial, whilst supporting a cost conscious approach to training. Whilst there are some limitations, broader scenarios and more realistic threat capabilities can be trained against.

LSET Weeks was the first sailor to complete the course without previous exposure to the FCO position, enforcing Training Force’s commitment to achieving qualification and certification through reduced time at sea. The course will pave a new way in the training continuum of the ET category.

The course is run out of HMAS Watson at the System Training School, a school specialising in Combat Systems and simulation training in all aspects of warfare. There is one course remaining in 2013 (30 September-22 November). Priority will be given to sailors who have already completed the FCO Course but who have not achieved endorsement.

From 2014 all components of Mk3 or Mk3E FCO Course will fall under one EDP and consist of the following:

  • 2 Weeks – Live Firing Suitability (West Head Gunnery Range)
  • 1 Week – FCO Preparatory Course (Watson or Stirling)
  • 4 Weeks – FCO Enablers Course (Watson or Stirling)
  • 2 Weeks – FCO Endorsement (Watson or Stirling)
  • 2 Weeks – Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System Course (Watson or Stirling)