Technical mastery key for Navy engineering

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

Able Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Stevenson provides an interviews during a recording of the engineering webisode. (photo: Unknown)
Able Seaman Electronics Technician Nicholas Stevenson provides an interviews during a recording of the engineering webisode.

When Able Seaman Electronics Technician Nick Challinor-Stevenson arrived at the Fleet Support Unit, starring in a video production was the last thing on his mind.

Able Seaman Challinor-Stevenson and his workmates are now Navy (RANMedia) YouTube sensations, in a program designed to both entertain and inform Navy members.

The Navy’s Fleet Support Units are situated across the nation providing consistently high quality maintenance, overhaul, and repair services.

The units are Navy’s primary organisation for the employment of Electronics Technician, Marine Technician and Boatswains Mate sailors in shore postings.

Sailors doing work ashore that maintains and increases their skills means they are more competent and capable of conducting the full range of preventative and corrective or restorative maintenance when they are next at sea. 

Able Seaman Challinor-Stevenson’s specialty was repairing circuit cards – these are electronic plates which operate a wide range of instruments and machinery both at sea and ashore.

Lose a board and you can easily lose a vital piece of electronic equipment and that could have a critical impact on the running of a ship or workspace. The ability to identify and repair the board therefore is vital.

Able Seaman Challinor-Stevenson has recently moved on to guided missile frigate, HMAS Darwin, and said the Fleet Support Unit lab provided him with excellent hands on experience.

"The skills we learned there helped all of us improve our technical abilities," he said. 

"Working in the lab gave us a greater understanding of electronics and in turn improved our ability to maintain as well as repair our equipment to a much deeper level."

For an electronics specialist, repairing circuit cards is as challenging as it is satisfying. 

"Each card that comes our way had an important purpose," Able Seaman Challinor-Stevenson said. 

"If we got it wrong, the impact could be severe so we took our work very seriously."

The video is the first of three programs illustrating the vital role Fleet Support Units play on a daily basis across the Navy.

He admitted the filming experience was a little weird but a lot of fun. 

"All the people involved were really nice and approachable so nerves weren't too much of an issue,"he said.

"I found the hardest part was trying to be serious and not laugh!"

‘Circuit Card Assembly Repair Lab- Centre of Excellence’
video is available at: