West Head Gunnery Range Flinders community visit and PWO50 Course

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Location(s): West Head Gunnery Range, Vic

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, West Head Gunnery Range

Members of the Flinders Community Organisation in front of the 72mm gun at West Head Gunnery Range. (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Members of the Flinders Community Organisation in front of the 72mm gun at West Head Gunnery Range.

West Head Gunnery Range (WHGR), an outstation of HMAS Cerberus located in Flinders, Victoria, welcomed residents of the Flinders community to tour their training facilities and witness a firing exercise by the Principle Warfare Officers Course 50 (PWO 50).

Since the upgrade to its facilities, residents have been curious about the major changes just on their doorstep. With regular firings occurring, they can hear and feel the activities nearby, but haven’t been able to see the technology behind the sound.

WHGR provides gunnery training for both Close Range and Medium Caliber firings, Navigation Radar and miscellaneous communications and support equipment.

With 27 students, the PWO 50 is the largest PWO course to date and will spend three weeks conducting intense practical training on the systems available to them. Until they have the opportunity to undertake training at WHGR, PWO students spend the first four months learning theory in tactics and systems. The opportunity to train on live gunnery equipment is an important progression for students.

Training realignment has meant the course will more effectively support technology advancements and how Navy mans its ships into the future. To reflect this the PWO course has combined courses to become an intensive year long course making it one of the longest courses offered through Navy and covering a range of sub specialisations including Navigator, Communications Information Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, Mine Warfare, Above Water Warfare and Surface Warfare.

After their training at WHGR, the PWO students will return to HMAS Watson in Sydney for simulation training in the Systems Training School, before proceeding on their specialisation phase training all over Australia.

Local residents and visitors in the Flinders community witness a 76mm gun live firing at West Head Gunnery Range, Flinders, Victoria.

Local residents and visitors in the Flinders community witness a 76mm gun live firing at West Head Gunnery Range, Flinders, Victoria.

Additional imagery is available at  http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130519.