HS BLUE Crew 12.7mm practice

Published on LCDR Chris Waterson (author), LEUT Geoff Lawes (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246)

HS Blue crew embarked in HMAS Melville, conduct a 12.7mm weapons practice enroute to Darwin for a port visit.  (photo: LEUT Geoff Lawes)
HS Blue crew embarked in HMAS Melville, conduct a 12.7mm weapons practice enroute to Darwin for a port visit.

HS BLUE Crew embarked in HMAS Melville recently to complete maritime skills evaluation, unit readiness evaluation and mission readiness evaluation before proceeding on survey operations near Bathurst Island, Northern Territory.

During a break in surveying, HS BLUE made a detour to the military practice areas west of Darwin for some gunnery continuation training.

Using parachute flares as targets, Melville conducted anti-aircraft drills with her 12.7mm machine guns. The serial commenced at sunset so that the targets would be more visible.

All 12.7mm qualified sailors rotated through the firing serial, most with memories of a fantastic evening for a weapons practice.

“While it was fantastic to be back on survey operations, the chance to conduct a firing serial provided the gunnery department a chance to show their skills. It was really a visually dynamic shoot,” said Lieutenant Jessica Burgess.

During the Bathurst Island survey, HS BLUE was collecting data to update charts under Hydrographic Instruction 548 - Cape Fourcroy. Commanding Officer HS BLUE, Lieutenant Commander Chris Waterson says this is important work.

“During the survey we conducted soundings and gathered data, which will be used to modernise charts. This is will assist mariners in the safe passage and navigations of the region and is particularly important given the increased volume and size of shipping now using the area coming in and out of Darwin,” said LCDR Waterson.