Fastest gun in the West

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Jason O'Gorman (author), POEW Mark Feggans (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04), Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Challinor-Stevenson onboard HMAS Darwin. (photo: POEW Mark Feggans)
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Challinor-Stevenson onboard HMAS Darwin.

Experiences such as the multi-platform exercise underway off the Western Australian coast help Navy members train as they fight, preparing ships and people for varied scenarios.

During Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 2017 long-range escort frigate HMAS Darwin will play a vital role countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.

The guided missile frigate’s close-in weapons system, or CIWS, is designed to be the last line of defence against anti-ship missiles and is maintained by Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Challinor-Stevenson.

Leading Seaman Challinor-Stevenson said he knew that the system would become his favourite as soon as he was first introduced to the machine.

“It fires 20 millimetre armour piercing tungsten tipped rounds out of six rotating barrels at a rate of approximately 75 rounds per second,” he said.

“It is capable of automatically searching for, detecting, tracking and engaging any air target deemed a threat to its host ship.

“The weapons system is an important air warfare asset, and is the fastest gun in the fleet,” he said.

Leading Seaman Challinor-Stevenson posted onto Darwin in 2014 as an Able Seaman and deployed to the Middle Eastern and is back onboard Darwin as a systems maintainer.

“It felt like I had never left!” he said.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Navy after hearing stories about the Navy from his ex-serving father and currently serving uncle.

“I’ve never regretted my decision to join the Navy at the age of 17 back in 2009,” he said.

“I’ve experienced more wearing the Navy uniform than is possible in any other job out there.

“I’ve enjoyed a great connection with Darwin and take great pride in all the work that I do onboard.”

He said that it will be sad to see Darwin decommission at the end of this year.