New era for Navy test and tactics development

Published on LCDR Paul Garai (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

HMAS Hobart conducts a live fire exercise using the vertically launched RIM-66 Standard Missile 2 (SM2) as a test of capability before proceeding to their Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE). (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
HMAS Hobart conducts a live fire exercise using the vertically launched RIM-66 Standard Missile 2 (SM2) as a test of capability before proceeding to their Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE).

For many years the Royal Australian Navy Test and Evaluation Authority and the Australian Maritime Warfare Centre have served to ensure the Navy can fight and win at sea.

Both organisations apply scientific, engineering and deep warfare experience to ensure we understand what our ships, submarines and aircraft are capable of and how we can get the most out of them.

But it’s now time to take both organisations to the next level and meet the demands of a rapidly growing modern Navy.

The advent of the First Principles Review and a national continuous ship building endeavour has driven a re-think of warfighting support.

Continuous ship build requires continuous design, test and tactical development and Navy must evolve to meet this challenge.

The first step on this journey is to merge the Royal Australian Navy Test and Evaluation Authority and Australian Maritime Warfare Centre into a centralised warfighting support agency under the banner of the Maritime Warfare Centre.

This new organisation will be responsible for providing Test and Evaluation, Tactical Development and Operational Analysis throughout the Capability Life Cycle.

Current Director of the Australian Maritime Warfare Centre and future Director of Maritime Warfare Centre, Captain David Frost, summarised the shift. 

“These two organisations have always worked closely, but it’s now time to be one team and provide both Head of Navy Capability and Fleet Commander with a one-stop warfighting support shop.

“We’re learning valuable lessons and collecting significant data every day from the Fleet, Defence Science and Technology, and our Industry Partners.

“It’s critical that we turn this data into capability for not only our current but also our future Fleet,” Captain Frost said.

Under the merge, the Maritime Warfare Centre will establish Test and Tactic Development Teams that will support Navy Programs from cradle to grave - planning, collecting and analysing data that will inform critical decisions regarding current and future systems.

In parallel, warfare program and operational analysis teams will collaborate with numerous agencies to develop supporting warfare plans across Sea Control, Littoral, Integrated Air and Missile Defence and Information Warfare domains.

These plans will provide the battle rhythm for all trials, ensuring the right systems are tested at the right time to support the right decisions.

Underpinning the entire organisation is years of Defence Science experience, providing deep specialist support in Weapons Systems Effectiveness and Signature Analysis and Ranging.

From telemetry services in support of missile firings to measuring the signatures of our ships and submarines, these deep skillsets are critical in our understanding of lethality and vulnerability and will form a strong foundation of the new Maritime Warfare Centre. 

The centre will report to the Deputy Fleet Commander and remain at Garden Island in Sydney.

Fleet Commander will formally open the Maritime Warfare Centre on Monday 20 January, with a launch the following day at the Fleet Warfare Forum.