09 Juli 2011

Navy Looks to the Future

09 Juli 2011

AWD evolved (image : AusAWD)

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) got a glimpse into its high-tech war-fighting future this week when personnel were welcomed aboard two of the US Navy’s Guided Missile Destroyers.

The Destroyers, USSMcCampbell and USSFitzgerald, were visiting Sydney’s Fleet Base East ahead of their involvement in Exercise Talisman Sabre, 2011.

During their stay the USNships invited an Australian contingent into their operation rooms for a series of familiarisation sessions with the AEGIS System – technology which will be used in the new Hobart Class Destroyers currently being built for the RAN.

The hands-on ‘AEGIS School Ship’ sessions gave the RAN’s future AEGIS users access to US Navy operators who shared experience gained from more than 30 years of working with various versions of the technology.

The AEGIS System is designed to integrate the overall management of a task group's combat assets for air, surface and underwater operations. It can react quickly, and with enough firepower, to destroy fast and intelligent targets in dynamic environments. The system is comprised of four main components: the SPY-1D(V) phased array multi-function radar, the command and decision system, the AEGIS display system and the weapon control system.

Chief Petty Officer Damon Young from the Air Warfare Destroyer Capability Implementation Team said using the AEGIS capability will require significant shore support.

“We need to have our support organisations shaped to be able to support that ship at sea and its task at sea and it’s quite a complex environment,” CPO Young said.

CPO Young believes that maximising exposure to the systems that will be installed in the Hobart Class Destroyers will ensure the Navy is ready to fight and win at sea when the platforms join the Australian Fleet.

“The whole AEGIS School Ship program is that first snapshot for not just our sailors, but whole support organisations from Defence civilians to uniformed personnel, to see what it will take to support this.

“This way we can shape our organisations, our understanding, and our expectations, so we can hit the ground running,” Young said.

Lieutenant Beck Russell is a Maritime Warfare Officer who has her sights firmly set on a career as a Principal Warfare Officer (PWO). She says the hands-on introduction to the AEGIS System will prove invaluable.

“Hopefully I’ll be going onto an Air Warfare Destroyer as a PWO.”

‘So, any insight that I can get into the AEGIS system, the ops room, and DDGs (Guided Missile Destroyers) is really beneficial to me.” says LEUT Russell.

The success of the School Ship program to date has ensured more sessions will be held in the lead-up to the commissioning of the Hobart Class Destroyers.

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