Navy fosters close bond with our industry partners

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author)

Location(s): Macquarie Park, NSW

Topic(s): Training

Raytheon Australia's Mr Bill Cattell (left) looks on as Lieutenant Commander Christopher Thornton tries out Raytheon's Destroyer (DDG) 'Variable Depth Sonar' simulator. (photo: Unknown)
Raytheon Australia's Mr Bill Cattell (left) looks on as Lieutenant Commander Christopher Thornton tries out Raytheon's Destroyer (DDG) 'Variable Depth Sonar' simulator.

A Royal Australian Navy Training Systems (TS) Officer has spent the last four months seconded with Raytheon Australia in a move to foster and improve alliances with industry partners. 

Lieutenant Commander Christopher Thornton spent four months with Raytheon where his primary task was to develop a business case to repatriate Destroyer (DDG) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) training from the United States Navy.

This included Missile System Supervisor (MSS) and Vertical Launch System (VLS) Operator and Maintainer training in preparation for Australia's future fleet of destroyers. 

He said the work was varied and interesting. 

“With the number of new acquisitions planned for the RAN in the near future, the relationship between Defence and Industry is more important than ever,” Lieutenant Commander Thornton said. 

“Industry engagement is a commitment in the Defence White Paper and Commodore Training, Commodore Justin Jones has contributed to this commitment by creating an industry outplacement position for Training System Officers.”

Lieutenant Commander Thornton was the collective lead in developing the business case. The work relied on him to draw upon his experiences and knowledge of RAN systems and processes. He said he also learnt a lot from his civilian compatriots regarding the project management concepts and processes required to introduce a new capability into service. 

“My knowledge in the projects and acquisitions area increased exponentially through my new found experience with Raytheon,” he said. 

“The experience reconfirmed just how important our industry partners are to this process and more importantly it gave me an appreciation of how close our relationship needs to be and the importance of the level of communication required during the introduction of new capability into the fleet.”

Commodore Training and Director Navy Training, Captain Malcolm Ralston are both committed to this program and will continue to offer more outplacements for TS officers as part of their professional development program, however industry outplacements opportunities benefit all personnel in training roles and other opportunities will also be pursued.

Similarly, Raytheon recognises the benefits of working together. 

Raytheon Australia Head of Engineering, Mr David Hewish said Raytheon is always looking for ways to strengthen their trusted partnership with the Royal Australian Navy. 

“Industry placements for naval officers, embedded in Raytheon Australia's project teams, are a practical way that we can learn from each other as we work together to defend Australia and its national interest,” he said.

Lieutenant Commander Thornton said he could not speak more highly of the opportunity and the professionalism shown by Raytheon Australia. 

“As an Australian Defence Force member but also a member of the community, I am glad we have experienced Defence industry organisations assisting the RAN to fight and win at sea.”