The scaled versions of Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) and Landing Ship Dock (LSD) used for ship handling training at the Port Ash Ship Handling Facility near Newcastle have been officially named in an informal ceremony.
The newly launched LHD ship model was named ‘Assault’, after the nearby shore base HMAS Assault which was used for training in the Nelson Bay area near Port Ash, during World War II.
The scaled version of the LSD, which can provide platform training for future Command Teams of HMAS Choules, was named ‘Headmark’ after the title of the Australian Naval Institute magazine.
The scaled version of the LHD ‘Assault’ has already been in constant use to train the commissioning Command Team of NUSHIP Canberra and next year, will be used by the commissioning Command Team of Adelaide – the Navy’s second LHD.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs joined the Director of the Port Ash facility, Captain Cliff Beazley and his wife and Naming Lady, Mrs Cath Beazley, to assist with the Ceremony, that also included pouring champagne over the bows of the replicas to officially name them in true naval tradition.
After the official naming, the Port Ash staff hosted Chief of Navy onboard ‘Assault’ to demonstrate the unique ship handling characteristics of the LHD. ‘Assault’ has been carefully designed from its hull shape through to its propulsion controls to accurately reflect a 1:20 scale version of the LHD.
Director of Port Ash Australia, Captain Cliff Beazley said that the training offered to navigators and command teams is of great benefit both in terms of experience and cost, especially when compared to using the real platform.
“It is a smart way to provide training to personnel who are going to be navigating and piloting new platforms - by learning in the scaled version, they can experience the nuances and unique characteristics of the platform before they handle the real thing,” said Captain Beazley.
LHD replica ‘Assault’ increases the number of platforms at Port Ash to six. Of the four platforms used to train Navy personnel, ‘Centurion’ emulates the Anzac class frigates, ‘Triton’ emulates HMAS Sirius, while ‘Headmark’ and ‘Assault’ are used to emulate HMAS Choules and the new LHDs Canberra and Adelaide.
“The naming of the replica ships is important - every ship must have a name - naming them certainly makes it easier for us when we have six different platforms to refer to,” said Captain Beazley.
“It was an honour to have Chief of Navy here for the event and demonstrate the way ‘Assault’ replicates the specific azimuthing propulsion and handling techniques of LHD providing realistic experiences for the personnel who will drive and pilot the ships,” he said.
“The kind of analogue training that we provide with the scaled replicas puts the RAN at the forefront of international ship handling training,” he said.
Along with the full staff of Port Ash Ship Handling Facility, also in attendance at the event were Commanding Officer NUSHIP Canberra, Captain Jonathan Sadleir AM, RAN and Executive Officer of NUSHIP Canberra, Commander Jonathan Earley, as well as Executive Officer of HMAS Choules, Lieutenant Commander Ben Hissink.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132592.