Engineering into a new era

Published on LCDR Scott Rayner (author), LSIS Kylie Jagiello (photographer)

Topic(s): Naval Engineering, Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER, Indo-Pacific Endeavour

HMAS Parramatta’s Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, LEUT Monica Tabulo (centre right) is presented her Weapons Engineer Charge Qualification Certificate by Director Fleet Engineering, CAPT Grant McLennan, RAN (centre left) and the Weapons Engineer Charge Qualification board from HMAS Canberra. (L-R) Executive Officer CMDR Brett Wescott, RAN; Commander Engineering, CMDR Sean Bowers, RAN; Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, LCDR Mark Williams; and Engineering Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Marine Technician Colin Milligan. (photo: LSIS Kylie Jagiello)
HMAS Parramatta’s Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, LEUT Monica Tabulo (centre right) is presented her Weapons Engineer Charge Qualification Certificate by Director Fleet Engineering, CAPT Grant McLennan, RAN (centre left) and the Weapons Engineer Charge Qualification board from HMAS Canberra. (L-R) Executive Officer CMDR Brett Wescott, RAN; Commander Engineering, CMDR Sean Bowers, RAN; Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, LCDR Mark Williams; and Engineering Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Marine Technician Colin Milligan.

A significant milestone was achieved in the Royal Australian Navy engineering community this month, when the first Engineering Charge Qualification (CQ) Board was conducted at sea on a ship attached to a Joint Task Group.

With task group operations being Navy’s new reality, multi-ship task groups are being deployed more regularly and further from home, making the requirement to travel to undertake a CQ Board a challenge for aspiring Engineering Officers posted to sea.

During Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER, an opportunity was identified for an Engineer CQ Board to be held on board Navy’s flagship HMAS Canberra, and HMAS Parramatta’s Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Monica Tabulo, was the first candidate to rise to the challenge.

Parramatta is being deployed to South and South East Asia over the coming months, so I was faced with the prospect of having to travel back to Australia to undertake my board, or delaying progression,” Lieutenant Tabulo said.

“To be the first to both undertake and successfully complete the CQ Board at sea means that the ship’s schedule, and my own, were able to proceed without interruption.

“I am also pleased that I could share my achievement immediately with my shipmates after crossing back to Parramatta at sea later the same day.”

Navy’s Director Fleet Engineering, Captain Grant McLennan noted that the flexibility of conducting the qualification boards at sea provided more flexibility in maintaining whole-ship capability, while allowing for continued individual career progression.

“OCEAN EXPLORER was a key milestone in preparing a task group of four ships for INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR, and Monica’s achievement of her ‘Charge’ qualification is both a personal milestone as well as a key engineering output for the task group,” Captain McLennan said.

Parramatta and the INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR task force now have an additional Charge Qualified Engineering Officer, increasing the resilience of the engineering community at sea.

“This would not have been achieved had it not been for the implementation of the task group construct,” he said.

Together with HMA Ships Canberra, Success and Newcastle, Parramatta is now deployed on INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019, which will see the task force visit neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and South Asia for engagement and capacity building.