After a long maintenance period, which involved more than 140,000 hours of contracted work, coupled with some manning constraints, the crew of the Australian Navy’s long-range escort frigate HMAS Darwin had to fine-tune their skills in order to get ready for the scheduled deployment for Operation SLIPPER.
In order to achieve mission readiness (MR), the crew engaged in a series of intensive trainings focusing especially on their boarding capabilities.
Commander Terrence Morrison, who assumed Command in August this year, said Darwin’s crew were faced with many obstacles adding that :”The MR process is a challenging and resource intensive period for the ship, support organisations and Sea Training Group, however the result in bringing the whole crew together into a cohesive and mission ready fighting force is well worth everyone’s efforts.”
Warrant Officer James McEwan, the Fleet Gunnery Assistant for Sea Training Unit – Major Fleet Unit said Darwin performed well in their boarding component because of the right preparation heading into Work Ups.
“The first few boardings are very challenging in getting the mechanics right. Using Seahorse Horizon as the supporting asset for boardings, the 24 personnel worked hard to get to the level expected. The ship tended to learn quite quickly”, he said.
Considerable support assets including nine F/A-18F Super Hornets and submarine HMAS Farncomb provided Darwin with more complex warfare challenges.
ABCSO Underwater Bryce Fraser commented:”The increased number of aircraft at times proved difficult to keep a handle on. Continued persistence got us through. From where Darwin was a few weeks ago to now is amazing.”
Naval Today Staff, January 08, 2014; Image: RAN