Navy personnel and Defence civilians have deployed as one team to complete maintenance on deployment on an unprecedented scale. The beneficiary – HMAS Arunta, deployed for nine months on operations in the Middle East.
This is the first time a combined team has been deployed to complete such a large number of maintenance tasks, which they hope will ensure Arunta can continue important duties with minimal disruption.
Officer in charge of the team, Commander Rudi Overmeyer said the team was enthusiastic to undertake the maintenance aspect of the trial.
“The first week has demonstrated a willingness by all parties to drive to a successful outcome,” he said.
“All teams are taking a professional pragmatic approach to ensure the successful outcome to this external maintenance period.
“The team has settled into Bahrain, working coordinated hours between ship’s staff and local contractors.”
The team of 25 personnel, eight of whom are contractors, are assisting the ship’s company so they can proceed on leave for some well-earned respite.
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Submarines Jason Williams said a lot of the technicians sent to help had completed rotations in the Middle East before.
“We know how stressful and how tiring it can be as well as the effect it can have on the state of equipment due to the high tempo of operations up here,” he said.
“The ability we have to allow the crew some form of respite by assisting them in their maintenance is rewarding. For that, we have been warmly welcomed.
“Our experience up here is unique in our involvement and I think we all hope we can help make this long rotation for Arunta that little bit easier.”
Breaking new ground is never easy, and there have been some speed bumps in the lead up to the deployment, however, the team remain motivated.
Warrant Officer Electronics Technician Darcy Cook said members of the team were keen to start the work package after long planning in the lead up to deployment.
“The team hit the ground running with many Intermediate Maintenance Availability tasks completed or close to completion within the first week of production.
"In between taskings, the team is assisting ship’s staff complete organic maintenance and defect rectification, as well as identifying training opportunities for trade and career progression,” Warrant Officer Cook said.
The team will be deployed for eight weeks. If the concept proves successful, Navy could adopt a new approach of support teams deploying to meet the assets, keeping the assets on task longer and providing support and respite to the crew.