Thirty four members of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project were given the opportunity to go to sea on HMAS Adelaide last month. The group, made up of 26 personnel from Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and three industry participants, sailed from Adelaide to Sydney in conjunction with Adelaide's family cruise.
The sea ride gave AWD's Defence personnel the chance to learn about the ship's systems and experience life onboard an operational Navy ship. The team toured various areas on board including engineering spaces, the operations room and the bridge, as well as the hospital, the Flying Control centre (FLYCO) and the less technical but equally important galley.
Some members took the opportunity to receive in-depth briefings and tours from Adelaide's crew on areas specific to their AWD role, including machinery spaces and combat system equipment spaces.
Roger Duffield, AWD Platform System Coordinating Design Acceptance Representative, and his team met with Adelaide's technical staff to discuss aspects of the design and build of the Amphibious Assault Ship and the comparisons to the AWDs.
"I had a number of very valuable discussions with the ship's personnel covering a range of issues relating to design compliance and build conformance, including electrical, propulsion, Heating Ventilation Air conditioning system (HVAC), damage control and ship stability," Roger said.
"This has helped me gain a better post-delivery in-service perspective of maintainability and reliability, specifically in areas such as Integrated Platform Management System functionality and limitations, insulation monitoring within the electrical generation and distribution systems, and LED lighting configuration changes."
A few members of the team also had the opportunity to be in the operations room when Adelaide's crew fired the on board Mark 25 Mod II Typhoon guns from the combat management system for the first time. Not only did this give Adelaide a chance to put its consoles and crew through its paces, it also gave the AWD team first hand experience on how those systems operate at sea and reinforced the importance of understanding how the customer will use its systems in a real-world setting.
"The opportunity to participate in a live fire activity and discuss challenges and lessons learnt with the operators and maintainers of the combat system will be invaluable in addressing some issues we may face with Initial Operating Capability in AWD," Lee Rigano, AWD Foreign Military Sales Program Manager said.
After gaining their sea legs, the team boarded one of Adelaide's light landing craft and sailed throughout Jervis Bay, achieving a better understanding of the capability of the vessel and the varied roles the Amphibious Assault Ship is required to undertake.
Adelaide's crew also gave some high-energy demonstrations of their training should any incidents occur on board, including firefighting and man overboard procedures. A number of the AWD team had the opportunity to participate in one of the more powerful demonstrations by shooting an F88 Steyr off the quarterdeck.
"I learnt so much on board, but I never expected to be given a chance to fire a weapon!" Scott Harmer, AWD Program Security Manager said. "It was an impressive sight and will make for a good story in years to come."
Catherine Murray, Executive Assistant to Director General Air Warfare Destroyer - Commodore Bourke said the AWD team were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to sail on one of Australia's newest and largest ships. "It was the icing on the cake to be on board the ship of our namesake city."
The AWD team spoke high praises of their tri-service colleagues on board Adelaide.
"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us and the hands-on experience we've gained here is invaluable," Paul Covacich, AWD Senior Electrical Technical Officer said. "We can't thank Captain Mandziy and his crew enough."
At the conclusion of their sea ride, the AWD team toured the new DDG Systems Program Office building at Garden Island, the AWD Command Team Trainer at HMAS Watson and viewed the training facilities at Randwick Barracks, before heading back to Adelaide to put their new-found knowledge into practice.