Navigating a warfare career

Published on LEUT Miah Hammond-Errey (author), CMDR Chloe Wootten (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Diamantina (M86), HMAS Huon (M82)

(L-R) Sub-Lieutenant Brandon Taylor, Navigation Officer, Lieutenant Andrew Leupen and Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Northcote, onboard HMAS Diamantina conduct manoeuvres with HMAS Huon. (photo: Unknown)
(L-R) Sub-Lieutenant Brandon Taylor, Navigation Officer, Lieutenant Andrew Leupen and Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Northcote, onboard HMAS Diamantina conduct manoeuvres with HMAS Huon.

It takes a whole Navy to train the senior service's future warship captains, with experiences ashore, and at sea, and classroom theory combining to prepare officers for the demanding role.

Sub Lieutenant Brandon Taylor is a trainee Maritime Warfare Officer, undertaking the Junior Warfare Officer Application Course.

As part of his training he has been posted to HMAS Diamantina, a mine hunter coastal, to benefit from the crew's knowledge and experience.

In this period he has been mentored by qualified warfare officers, consolidating classroom navigation theory and broadening his seamanship knowledge.

Recently returned from a month-long deployment, Sub Lieutenant Taylor said the experience was invaluable for his career path.

"This trip has provided an excellent opportunity to develop and instil key seamanship skills."


"It has given me a great understanding of ship handling and the necessary precision to not only conduct maritime evolutions safely but to a standard fitting of a qualified officer-of-the-watch," Sub Lieutenant Taylor said.

"The expertise of the command team on how to conduct myself was priceless. They have taught me skills which will be invaluable to my future career as a Maritime Warfare Officer."

During the period, Diamantina sailed in company with sister ship, HMAS Huon and the ships used the transit to practice important mariner skills and train junior officers such as Sub Lieutenant Taylor.

They conducted replenishment at sea approaches, light line transfers, towing approaches and officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres, with Sub Lieutenant Taylor taking 'the con' for many of the serials.

Diamantina Navigation Officer Lieutenant Andrew Leupen said the manoeuvres were essential fot the ships to be ble to operate safely in close company.

"Diamantina and Huon have significantly improved our interoperability by capitalising on in-company training serials," he said.

"The evolutions foster smoother interaction between the ships' bridges."

Maritime Warfare Officers work as part of team of officers and sailors, supporting the Commanding Officer, and once qualified can be responsible for the control and safety of an Australian warship at sea and alongside.

Trainees must pass four phases of the Junior Warfare Application Course before they can be considered for endorsement.

Shore phases at Sydney-base HMAS Watson, learning advanced navigation, bridge management and mariner skills are complemented by sea time in a minor war vessel, such as a patrol boat or a minehunter, and then a major fleet unit, for practical consolidation of the classroom theory.

To find out more about the role visit http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/#/navy/jobs/MaritimeWarfareOfficer/