Joint helicopter school starts training at HMAS Albatross

The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army have joined forces with industry to train rotary wing crews at a new joint helicopter school as part of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System. The first intake of 37 future pilots, aircrew and Aviation Warfare Officers commenced the 26-week training course this week at a new dedicated facility at HMAS Albatross. Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, said the establishment of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System within 723 Squadron represents a major step forward for next-generation military helicopter training. “The ongoing partnership…

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Fleet Battle Staff hone skills in task group operations

Navy’s Fleet Battle Staff has capped a very busy 2017 with a highly successful Exercise OCEAN RAIDER off Australia’s east coast. When not deployed on operations or exercises, Fleet Battle Staff contributes to the development of tactics and doctrine in their warfare discipline, as well as task group level training and assessment. The Fleet Battle Staff is responsible for the provision of tactical level command and planning of maritime operations and building on the skills gained in 2016, Fleet Battle Staff were perpetually engaged throughout 2017. Commander Amphibious Task Group,…

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HMAS Warramunga Continues Operational Success

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga seized 111 kilograms of heroin valued at $33 million during operations in the Arabian Sea on 7 January 2018. This is the third successful interdiction for Warramunga in the past fortnight, taking the ship’s total seizures to more than 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 180 kilograms of heroin and a total approximate value of $629 million. The operation was carried out under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ Australian-led Combined Task Force 150, after the suspect vessel was assessed to be engaged in…

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Garden Island – where conservation meets capability

There is often something charming about an older building, but if one truly feels like it might be from another century, it may be time to consider some improvements. But what happens when heritage value and modern warfare combine? Navy’s home in the west, Fleet Base West at Garden Island has a thought-provoking history but is about to get a significant series of upgrades that need to take into account the value of documenting past use. Having boasted numerous military installations as part of the fixed defenses ‘to keep the…

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Royal Australian Navy nets huge illegal drug shipment in the Middle East

The crew of the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga have spent the Christmas season hard at work, spending nearly three days seizing almost eight tonnes of hashish and 69 kilograms of heroin from drug smugglers while conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea. Warramunga intercepted and boarded three suspect vessels between 27 and 29 December 2017, in an operation planned and coordinated by the Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 150 which is currently commanded by Australia—supported by a combined Australian-Canadian staff. The illegal drug haul is the…

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Babcock signs AU$200 million agreement with Royal Australian Navy

Leading engineering company Babcock’s 50/50 joint venture with UGL has been awarded a further five year agreement, worth around £115 million (AU$200 million) to the Group, to provide maintenance support services for the Australian Navy. The programme agreement, starting in January 2018, will see the Naval Ship Management (NSM) joint venture deliver critical engineering services to sustain eight ANZAC Class Frigates as part of the long-term Australian Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA). NSM will undertake the planning, scheduling, management and execution of preventative and corrective maintenance for the ANZAC fleet…

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Life’s work dedicated to finding the men of HMAS AE1

The former Royal Australian Navy senior officer who has made finding HMAS AE1 his life’s work says he will remember the moment the submarine was finally found off PNG this week with mixed emotions. The survey team in Papua New Guinea that found AE1 had not even settled into a daily rhythm before the first sign of the lost submarine emerged. Expedition leader, retired Rear Admiral Peter Briggs, said he was in his cabin as the autonomous underwater vehicle was retrieved from its first mission and the data was downloaded….

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Ready to support the disaster season

While many personnel are enjoying well-earned family time over the Christmas/New Year period, some members of 808 Squadron at HMAS Albatross will be on alert as the Operational Readiness Squadron for this period. Two MRH90 helicopter crews will be on standby, should the need arise, to provide Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in response to bushfires, floods, cyclones or other emergencies. MRH90 pilot Lieutenant Commander Colin McLeod says the members of 808 Squadron are well prepared. “Bambi Bucket training has provided pilots and aircrewman with a basic understanding of how…

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‘FOUND’ – Australian Navy Submarine HMAS AE1 located after 103 years

Australia’s first submarine HMAS AE1 has been found, ending a 103 year maritime mystery. The fate of 800 ton AE1 and her 35 crew members has remained one of the persistent mysteries of Australia’s military history. It was the first loss for the Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I; a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies. The Royal Australian Navy submarine was lost off Rabaul on 14 September 1914 with all personnel aboard. An expedition to locate the submarine took…

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AMOG Technologies and Thales collaborate on new research into submarine technology

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced another Australian defense industry collaboration success with Melbourne firm AMOG Technologies contracting with Thales on new research into stealth technology for submarine periscopes and optronic masts. Minister Pyne congratulated AMOG Technologies, an offshore and maritime engineering company who will be working in collaboration with global Prime, Thales, on the first phase of a technology evaluation study. “This collaborative technology development effort between local suppliers and global Prime contractors is a model we encourage,” Minister Pyne said. “Research will examine…

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Solo operator meets the challenge

For Able Seaman Mathew Tickner, being the only Communication and Information Specialist on the survey motor launch HMAS Mermaid is a challenge he is ready and willing to accept. ”Radios, flags and IT support, I do it all,” he said. Delivering the full range of communications to support the ship and crew is a role he takes pride in and one he strives to enhance and learn from each day. With nine years’ service in the Navy, Able Seaman Tickner greatly enjoys the added responsibility of working with a professional…

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An era of crew support draws to a close

With Anzac class frigates having recently completed their Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrades, the Fast-Frigate Helicopter Support Team’s mission of supporting crews and vessels during the program will be coming to a close in December. The Team was stood up in December 2010 to provide support for vessels in extended readiness with no crews attached to the platform. Officer in Charge Lieutenant Commander Peter Clark said that during its existence, it had evolved to a position where they could provide a service to both incoming and outgoing crews during upgrades. “While…

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Pride and professionalism on display in Fleet Divisions

With great fanfare, more than 1,500 officers and sailors have lined the decks of HMAS Canberra in the Australian Fleet’s 2017 Ceremonial Divisions. Sydney provided a spectacular backdrop as personnel from East based ships and shore establishments gathered in their finest summer uniform. The divisions were reviewed by Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer who said the occasion marked a successful – and significant – year. “This year we have reintroduced the destroyer to the Australian Fleet with the commissioning of HMAS Hobart,” he said. “We have deployed maritime…

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Silent service secrets revealed

The crew of HMAS Waller had the unique opportunity to show their family members what they do when they go to sea on a recent sea ride from HMAS Stirling at Rockingham to the Port of Fremantle. The visitors were treated to a hands-on adventure which included several hours with the submarine dived as Waller sailed in preparation for Port of Fremantle Maritime Day activities. Many had never been underway in a submarine and were treated to viewing live information on the displays as well as noting the skill and…

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Support Ship returns from Indo-Pacific mission

True to her motto of ‘To Serve and Provide’- HMAS Sirius sailed into her home port of Fleet Base West after almost four months at sea on 15 December, in time for well-earned Christmas break. Family and friends of the 73 crew gathered around Diamantina Wharf to welcome back the underway replenishment ship after participating in the Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment. Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Oborn said that their recent mission focussed on enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s key regional partners including Indonesia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic…

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