Anzac to the future

Published on LEUT Liam McMahon (author), LSIS Ernesto Sanchez (photographer)

Location(s): Henderson, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Anzac (F150)

HMAS Anzac ship's company stand on the forecastle for a group photo at the Common User Facility (CUF) in Henderson, Western Australia. (photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez)
HMAS Anzac ship's company stand on the forecastle for a group photo at the Common User Facility (CUF) in Henderson, Western Australia.

With the decommissioning of HMA Ships Success (II), Melbourne (III) and Newcastle in 2019, HMAS Anzac (III) became the Royal Australian Navy’s oldest Surface Combatant. But for Anzac’s ship’s company, retirement couldn’t be further from the mind, instead, thoughts are focused on an exciting new future.

At the Henderson Shipyard in Western Australia, the combined efforts of uniformed personnel and contractors have been hard at work transforming Anzac into one of the world’s most advanced frigates as part of the Anzac Mid-life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP).

Just as the stereotypical mid-life crisis brings new equipment, so does a mid-life upgrade program.

In preparing for many years of service to come, Anzac is receiving new phased array air search radar, an enhanced communications suite, as well as improved cooling and other platform systems upgrades.

Anzac is hot on the heels of HMAS Arunta (II), which was the first FFH (Fast Frigate Helicopter) to receive the upgrade.

Completing all of the work is no small task and, as Anzac approaches the end of an 81 week external maintenance period, life for the ship’s company is only getting busier.

In these demanding times, Anzac has harnessed innovative new ideas and is working smarter as well as harder.

A key improvement has been the establishment of a revised duty watch construct.

A ‘ground up’ assessment of requirements, given both the challenges and benefits of Anzac’s situation, resulted in reduced impacts to the work-life balance of personnel, while still maintaining response options for any emergency incidents.

As a result, across all of ship’s company, Anzac personnel will keep fewer duties and spend extra nights at home with their families.

Given the positive impact on retention, the three personnel who did the bulk of the work to implement the new construct received iPads, as a reward recognising them as Navy Growth and Retention champions.

These personnel were Lieutenant Liam McMahon, Petty Office Bosun Liam Apps and Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Bradley Mossop.

The productivity benefits of physical activity are well known and Anzac’s program of whole ship physical training and sport makes sure Anzac will be ‘fit to fight’.

Isolated from the facilities of Anzac’s homeport of Fleet Base West, an arrangement was made with the local council. So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, personnel decked out in Anzac’s sporting colours, green and gold, can be seen taking over the grassy fields of the South Coogee Reserve.

The initiative was first introduced by the former crew of HMAS Stuart (III) and has been carried over as business as usual when the crew swapped into Anzac.

The future for Anzac is bright, with the ship’s company already benefiting from the fruits of their hard work and innovation. There is no doubt they will go on to further successes in 2020 when Anzac returns to the Fleet.