Vital frigate training designed in-house

Published on LCDR Paul Anderson (author), ABIS Chantell Brown (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Sydney (F03)

Royal Australian Navy MK 92 Mod 12 Fire Control System Course students and instructors onboard HMAS Sydney, Fleet Base East. (photo: ABIS Chantell Brown)
Royal Australian Navy MK 92 Mod 12 Fire Control System Course students and instructors onboard HMAS Sydney, Fleet Base East.

The Royal Australian Navy has developed a pilot training course for maintainers of the Mk 92 Mod 12 Fire Control System on Guided Missile Frigates or FFG.

Electronics Technicians, Chief Petty Officer William Edmondston, Petty Officer Matt Harper and Leading Seaman Mathew Webster developed the course at short notice, after the United States Navy ceased offering the course to foreign military personnel.

“For the last 35 years, the USN delivered an 11-month course at Training Support Centres in San Diego and Virginia, but this stopped in 2014 prior to the US Navy decommissioning their last of class, the USS Simpson in September this year,” Chief Petty Officer Edmondston said.

“Australian personnel returning from course in the United Statesthen had to complete a conversion course at the Naval Engineering Systems Centre - Fleet Base East to ensure they were proficient on the upgraded Australian frigates.

“We were given three months to consolidate both courses into one, with a compressed timeframe of 18 months into eight months,” Chief Petty Officer Edmondston said.

The MK 92 System is the largest and most complex Fire Control System currently in service. The newly developed course includes a significant practical element for trainees to consolidate their theoretical training.  This will provide an improved skill level to the guided missile frigate fleet.

Mk 92 instructors, Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Adam North, Petty Officer Electronics Technicians Nicholas Newman and Gavin Downes are system specialists who had served for a significant time on the frigates, were selected to deliver the course to the first class of eight onboard harbour training ship HMAS Sydney.

Chief Petty Officer North said being able to use Sydney for training enabled accelerated learning outcomes.

“The level of training output has far exceeded the training provided by the US Navy in years past,” Chief Petty Officer North said.

“Students and instructors are able to utilise a fully operational and integrated Fire Control System to complete in depth operation and fault finding practices.

“As a first of its kind, designed and delivered by the Royal Australian Navy, this training will allow our Mk 92 maintainers to enter the fleet with a deeper knowledge of the system.”

One of the students on the course, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Hope Miller said the new course delivered a great outcome.

“Having Sydney for our practicals really helped to consolidate our training,” she said.

Another student, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Owen Simpson, said he was looking forward to the challenges.

“I can't wait to work on a highly technical and complex system, and also to do my first weapon shoot,” he said.

On completion of the course, the students will travel toSan Diego,Californiato complete three months of Harpoon weapon systems maintenance training.