It takes an extraordinary logistical effort to fit out a long–range Anzac class frigate to ensure it has the highest level of materiel support capable of high-end warfighting.
HMAS Toowoomba is currently undergoing sea trials following an anti-ship missile defence upgrade that saw her stripped of all her inventory.
With a crew of 177 and an embarked Seahawk helicopter, the ship had to be re-supplied with everything from hardware and machinery to beds and kitchen cutlery utilising the latest inventory management systems.
Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Hamish Frazer said the six-month process of replacing the ship’s allowance had been one of the most challenging but beneficial exercises for the new crew.
“We have now validated the inventory for Toowoomba so we have a good understanding of what is required for frigates, and that should have a major benefit for Defence in future,” Lieutenant Commander Frazer said.
Keeping the Navy fully equipped, resourced and operating at the highest level of readiness entails an orderly mind, good attention to detail and financial management.
One person who knows this better than most on Toowoomba is Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics – Supply Chain Daniel Byers, who has overseen the addition of more than 9,000 items of stores to the ship.
“The biggest challenge was identifying what you need to run a ship and we had to go through the hull space by space,” Chief Petty Officer Byers said.
“The process saw the team order in the equivalent of 400 pallets of stores.
“To picture it another way – 25 shipping containers if the pallets are stacked two high, he said.
The ‘Swiss Army Knife’ responsibilities of logistics range from the issue of equipment through to general duties like seamanship evolutions and force protection.
Toowoomba is expected to begin work-ups to complete her operational readiness later this month.