All systems go

Published on LSIS Helen Frank (author), LSIS Helen Frank (photographer)

Weapons Electrical Engineeering Officer, Glen Cross stands on HMAS Canberra's Starboard Gun Deck with the Typhoon Stabilised Weapons System. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Weapons Electrical Engineeering Officer, Glen Cross stands on HMAS Canberra's Starboard Gun Deck with the Typhoon Stabilised Weapons System.

The attraction of a fully sponsored Bachelor’s degree lured Proserpine boy, Glen Cross to join the Navy. Sixteen years later and he is still loving it.

He joined in 1999 after finishing high school at Proserpine State High in 1997. He is now a Lieutenant Commander and in charge of the Weapons Electrical Engineering Department onboard the Navy’s largest ship HMAS Canberra.

Commissioned in November 2014, Canberra is the first of two Landing Helicopter Docks to be introduced to Navy. The ship has a crew of 400 and is capable of embarking over 1,000 troops and their cargo that can be landed ashore by helicopters or state of the art landing craft.

Lieutenant Commander Cross leads a department of 30 personnel who are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the ship’s fitted sensors, communications equipment, combat system, weapon systems and explosive ordnance.

“The best aspect of my job is the people I work with,” Lieutenant Commander Cross said.

“They are an amazing group of individuals that are extremely competent and professional technicians.

“They take great pride in their work and the systems they are responsible for.”

Lieutenant Commander Cross said the most memorable moment of his posting to Canberra so far, was the commissioning of the ship in November last year.

“Leading the department during the ceremony in front of my wife and mother was a highlight,” he said.

But bringing a first of class ship online has not been without its challenges.

“Unlike a car where thousands are produced around the world on an annual basis, the Canberra is the first of the class and there were bound to be some challenges,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the way my team has overcome these hurdles and got the job done.”

HMAS Canberra has been off the Australian east coast conducting First of Class Flight Trials and will visited Townsville at the end of March, the first port visit outside of her homeport of Sydney.

NUSHIP Adelaide is under construction at the BAE Systems dockyard in Williamstown, Victoria. These 27,000 tonne ships are the largest vessels ever constructed for the Navy and are capable of providing the Australian Defence Force with one of the most sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.

They are capable of complex amphibious operations and support to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.