Destroyer crew training to fight

Published on Department of Defence (author), Alan Antzack (photographer)

Location(s): San Diego, United States

Topic(s): HMAS Hobart (D39)

When the first of the Royal Australian Navy's destroyers enters service this year she will be one of the most capable warships in the world.

The commissioning crew for the future-HMAS Hobart is conscious their warfighting advantage is in the skill of the people that sail and fight the  destroyer not in the platform alone.

With that in mind, six members of Hobart’s commissioning crew travelled to San Diego to learn from the United States Navy how to use and maintain the warship’s Global Command and Control System – Maritime.

Leading Seaman Communication and Information Systems Daniel Cooke said the technology utilised onboard Hobart was advanced, and the course had provided essential training.

“The course has been running for years, so the set up was great - we gained a real insight into the system,” Leading Seaman Cooke said.

“I was among six maintainers trained to repair and operate the system, using technical reference onboard and under limited supervision from ashore."

The system combines command, control, communications, computers and intelligence with software, procedures, standards and interfaces that  provide an integrated near real-time picture of the battlespace.

The system is an integral part of the broader Aegis Combat System, which all of the future Hobart class destroyers will be fitted with. 

The world’s first complete combat management system, Aegis integrates powerful computers, radars and weapon systems to provide simultaneous defence against advanced air, surface and subsurface threats.

Leading Seaman Cooke said the command and control system was designed to help partner nations share information.

“The system supports our operational commander in his decision making. The system receives and retrieves and displays data relevant to the tactical situation, enhancing warfighting capability,” he said.

On graduation, the six sailors returned to Australia and Hobart to continue preparations ahead of commissioning later this year.