The requirement to traverse both in and on the waters of the greater region creates significant complexity for the enterprise that gets Australian submarines to sea. The sum of all the parts is called ‘seaworthiness’ and looks at the physical condition of submarines as well as the status and training of the personnel that are required to crew and support them. So who deems a submarine ‘worthy’?
This year, four Royal Australian Navy Commodores with a wealth of experience and knowledge provided an assurance, based on evidence supplied, that the capability can be operated safely and effectively now as well as into the future.
The Submarine Seaworthiness Board, held at HMAS Stirling in late October, provided an independent assessment of the capability for the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, who is ultimately responsible for all seaworthiness within Navy. The board ensured that Collins class submarines and the Submarine Abandonment Escape and Rescue System are able to deliver the required capability whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of personnel.
Commander Submarine Force, Captain Geoff Wadley, is in charge of delivering a force ready to meet the national interest.
“The feedback from the board provided a justified confidence that we as an organisation can continue to deliver a safe and seaworthy underwater force,” he said.
“It reflects the great work of the people in the submarine community and what they do to deliver this capability.”
The holistic health check also includes all documentation and management systems.
Staff Officer Seaworthiness for the Submarine Force, Lieutenant Commander Jacob Birch said that the submissions were well received by the Board.
“There was considerable effort examining in detail the numerous elements that the submarine capability comprises of, with the final assessment of the evidence by the Board,” Lieutenant Commander Birch said.
The successful outcome is an example of just one of the many processes that go into providing an assurance that Navy, and supporting organisations, are trusted and respected by the government as well as the people of Australia in delivering a potent and effective capability.