MK92 maintainers make their mark

Published on LCDR Jason O'Gorman (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Darwin (F04), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

The final Mk92 Fire Control System maintainer course embarked on HMAS Darwin. L to R POET David McCann, ABET Sam Chiswell, ABET Joe Battistello, ABET Michaela Manning, ABET Ben Marks, ABET Dean Markham, ABET Jade Eckhoff, ABET Paulo Eberhardt, ABET Chris Arnott, POET Michael Van Der Wel  (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
The final Mk92 Fire Control System maintainer course embarked on HMAS Darwin. L to R POET David McCann, ABET Sam Chiswell, ABET Joe Battistello, ABET Michaela Manning, ABET Ben Marks, ABET Dean Markham, ABET Jade Eckhoff, ABET Paulo Eberhardt, ABET Chris Arnott, POET Michael Van Der Wel
Prior to departing Fleet Base East for deployment, HMAS Darwin welcomed aboard trainee sailors destined to become the final generation of Mk92 Fire Control System maintainers for the Adelaide class frigates.
 
The course represented a key role of Darwin’s designation as a sea training ship.
 
These students will supplement the current group of qualified maintainers ensuring the System will be supported until the planned withdrawal date of the last ship of the class.
 
Having already completed several months of classroom instruction, the eight sailors and two instructors have spent their next two and a half months onboard Darwin conducting hands-on practical training.
 
The students arrived with limited to no previous experience on a major warship at sea. 
 
Petty Officer Electronics Technician Michael Van Der Wel is the lead instructor for the course and relished the opportunity to conduct training on an operational system.
 
“You can only do so much in the classroom,” Petty Officer Van Der Wel said.
 
“The best way to reinforce the theory component of the course is for the students to get their hands on the operational equipment to gain real-world experience.
 
“What better place to do it than on an operational ship at sea.
 
“Here, they get to train on the equipment itself, and also integrate themselves in the routines and culture of the ship.”
 
Petty Officer Van Der Wel said when the time comes for them to join either HMAS Melbourne or Newcastle in the future they can hit the ground running.
 
“We have a group of enthusiastic students,” he said.
 
“When real defects occurred, it was especially pleasing to see them pitching in with the ship’s maintainers to help fix the problem.”
 
Petty Officer Electronics Technicians Adam Cunningham, Matt Harper and David McCann were also on hand as instructors for the group.
 
Their work will ensure the combat effectiveness of the remaining Mk92 Fire Control Systems onboard the remaining frigates until their decommissioning.