Engineering challenges for Navy sailors

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Jayson Tufrey (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Petty Officer, Electronic Technician Tikoina Vuli (right) and Electronic Technician, Able Seaman Linda Widdicombe represent Fleet Support Unit - North in the Navy Engineering Challenge held at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.  (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Petty Officer, Electronic Technician Tikoina Vuli (right) and Electronic Technician, Able Seaman Linda Widdicombe represent Fleet Support Unit - North in the Navy Engineering Challenge held at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.
Technical sailors are again vying for the right to be crowned Champion Technician in the annual Navy Engineering Challenge.
 
Launched in 2013, the aim of the competition is to promote teamwork, skill-of-hand and job planning skills among technical sailors. 
 
The overall challenge was developed with input from the technical community and consists of three sub-elements – mechanical, electronics and aviation.
 
The mechanical challenge involves teams of four Marine Technicians partially stripping and rebuilding a diesel engine, in accordance with a provided work instruction, within a two to four-hour timeframe. 
 
Regional competitions started in May and are being run at Fleet Base East and West and in HMA Ships CairnsDarwin, and Cerberus, with each team to be given a single practice event followed by a single timed competition event. 
 
The regional winner will be the team with the lowest overall time score, taking into account penalties for incorrect work practices and will compete in the national competition in December.
 
The electronics challenge involves teams of four Electronic Technicians assembling elements of an optical fire control system (supplied in kit form), conducting system alignment with a supplied laser, undertake a move component and finishing with a tracking and laser-firing run against standardised targets. 
 
Scoring is based on an assessment of design and build quality, as well as movement performance and tracking performance against the targets. 
 
The team with the highest score in each region will also compete in the national competition in December.
 
The aviation challenge involves teams of five Aviation Technician personnel conducting mechanical and electrical repairs on a sample of a simulated aircraft structure and associated systems. 
 
Scoring is based on a combination of adherence to repair techniques, including tolerances outlined in supplied structural repair instructions and any innovation in applying the repair.
 
Quality of both the adherence to the supplied instructions and documentation of all repair work conducted is also assessed. 
 
Additional to this, documented planning of repair techniques, manpower use and safety considerations are also assessed within the allocated timeframe.
 
Senior Aviation Maintainer Warrant Officer Frankie Siska said this was the third year he had been involved in the challenge.
 
“Our first round of the competition started in the first week of August,” Warrant Officer Siska said.
 
“We have started the aviation technical component of the challenge with seven teams; three from 816 Squadron, one team each from 723, 725, 808 Squadrons and Training Authority - Aviation.
 
“After the first round four teams will proceed through to the second round which will start in October; after that two teams will progress to the finals.
 
The winners of each category’s challenge will receive a Champion Technician medallion, a prize consisting of tools to the value of $5,000 each, and are entitled to wear a Champion Technician cuff-rate.