Rankin returns home

Published on CMDR Neil Carson (author), ABIS Julianne Cropley (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base West

HMAS Rankin comes alongside Fleet Base West to waiting family members and fellow submariners after conducting a Full Cycle Docking activity in Adelaide, South Australia. This marks a milestone as Rankin now returns to full Operational Capability. (photo: ABIS Julianne Cropley)
HMAS Rankin comes alongside Fleet Base West to waiting family members and fellow submariners after conducting a Full Cycle Docking activity in Adelaide, South Australia. This marks a milestone as Rankin now returns to full Operational Capability.

Members of the submarine community along with families and friends welcomed the return of HMAS Rankin to Fleet Base West, south of Perth on 1 October. Just completing a full cycle docking in Adelaide, South Australia where the submarine underwent a major refit with key platform systems refurbished and several key upgrades including to the combat system and weapons.

Commander Submarine Force, Captain Matt Buckley greeted the crew on arrival.

“I am delighted to have another very capable submarine back in the force.  We have all been looking forward to the return of the ‘Black Knight’ for several months now.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submariner Paul Speechly with daughters Madeline (5) and Haylie (18 months) after returning to Fleet Base West on HMAS Rankin.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submariner Paul Speechly with daughters Madeline (5) and Haylie (18 months) after returning to Fleet Base West on HMAS Rankin.

“Following completion of the refit, the submarine and crew undergo an extensive period of licensing to ensure that the submarine is ready to perform all the roles we require of our national strategic deterrent capability,” he said.

Licensing starts as a check of material systems and equipment and progresses, via a staged approach, to an assessment of both the platform and crew to safely operate the submarine in all modes.

Assessment does not stop there, however, and the submarine is then required to undergo work-up as the crew are brought up to speed and assessed on their mariner skills such as navigation, surfaced and dived safety, and damage control.

On this occasion, the crew of Rankin effectively transferred across from HMAS Farncomb; the latter scheduled to enter a similar refit. As a result, the operational work-up and assessment package was tailored to Rankin’s needs and conducted successfully prior to their return to Fleet Base West.

“Despite inclement weather and the minor equipment issues that you expect following an extensive period in maintenance, Rankin successfully completed Unit Readiness Evaluation,” Captain Buckley said.

“The assessment onboard really cements teamwork and Rankin have done a tremendous job, returning to the fleet as an operationally capable crew.”

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142975.