Australia Designs Pilot Training Course on Frigates

The Royal Australian Navy has developed a pilot training course for maintainers of the Mk 92 Mod 12 Fire Control System on Guided Missile Frigates or FFG.

Electronics Technicians, Chief Petty Officer William Edmondston, Petty Officer Matt Harper and Leading Seaman Mathew Webster developed the course at short notice, after the United States Navy ceased offering the course to foreign military personnel.

Chief Petty Officer Edmondston said:

For the last 35 years, the USN delivered an 11-month course at Training Support Centres in San Diego and Virginia, but this stopped in 2014 prior to the US Navy decommissioning their last of class, the USS Simpson in September this year.

Australian personnel returning from course in the United States then had to complete a conversion course at the Naval Engineering Systems Centre – Fleet Base East to ensure they were proficient on the upgraded Australian frigates.

We were given three months to consolidate both courses into one, with a compressed timeframe of 18 months into eight months.

The MK 92 System is the largest and most complex Fire Control System currently in service. The newly developed course includes a significant practical element for trainees to consolidate their theoretical training. This will provide an improved skill level to the guided missile frigate fleet.

Mk 92 instructors, Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Adam North, Petty Officer Electronics Technicians Nicholas Newman and Gavin Downes are system specialists who had served for a significant time on the frigates, were selected to deliver the course to the first class of eight onboard harbour training ship HMAS Sydney.

According to Chief Petty Officer North, being able to use Sydney for training enabled accelerated learning outcomes.

On completion of the course, the students will travel to San Diego, California to complete three months of Harpoon weapon systems maintenance training.

Image: Australian Navy

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