HMAS Newcastle Successfully Completes Ammunitioning and De-Perming

HMAS Newcastle Successfully Completes Ammunitioning and De-Perming

HMAS Newcastle successfully completed ammunitioning and de-perming at the Magnetic Treatment Facility Fleet Base West before commencing Rotation 31, Operation SLIPPER, in the Middle East Area of Operations.

At the Magnetic Treatment Facility the ship was provided the capability to reduce, alter and stabilise the permanent magnetism in steel hulled vessels which limits the issue of magnetic variation in reading from the ship’s navigation systems.

Newcastle is the first warship to undergo the de-perming process in Western Australia in the last four years and only the second FFG to do so, which meant that for a lot of the ship’s company the overall activity was a unique experience.

Prior to dawn on the de-perming treatment day, Newcastle was cold moved into the Magnetic Treatment Facility which was a challenging evolution, however, the favourable calm conditions ensured the evolution was conducted safely.

Preparing the ship for the de-perming involved de-ammunitioning, de-storing the ship and removing many electronic and magnetic sensitive devices. The wrapping, cold moves and unwrapping required first rate seamanship execution.

LSBM Matthew Sadler said “I’ve been involved in many seamanship evolutions but de-perming was a first for me, requiring a lot of team work and co-ordination from all those involved.”

“During the de-perming treatment, we weren’t allowed on board allowing us some time off to explore Fremantle, it was a great run ashore as a team,” said LS Sadler.

On completion of the de-perming, the ship reinstalled all of the previously removed electronic equipment prior to conducting testings of her Combat system.

POET Ryan Brook, Newcastle’s sensors senior sailor, said the team learnt a lot during the evolution.

“This de-perming was a learning experience for everyone, however, it seemed to run a lot smoother than I expected, which was a result of great support from ashore, especially considering short notice help over the weekend by FSU-West Sensors section,” said PO Brook.

ABML-C Kate Svanfelds found herself involved in the transfer ammunition during the ship’s de-ammunitioning.

“It was a surprise as usually I work in the galley helping prepare all the meals to feed the crew, but it was fun as everyone chipped in together to get the job done. I also had the chance to talk to people I don’t get to see very often, said AB Svanfelds.

The visit was also Kate’s first time to the West and during some leave and respite ashore she was able to enjoy the cafes and markets in Fremantle.

SMNET Luke Batiste was in the missile loading crew during deammunitioning and helped wrap cables during the de-perming preparation.

“There were many long days involved but we all got it done quickly and I got to see WA for the first time. I caught up with friends and saw some sights around Fremantle and Perth,” said SMN Batiste.

“We also had game of touch football between the ETs and MTs on adjacent beach to the ammunitioning wharf just prior to sunset. It got quite competitive but it was a good way to end the day,” said SMN Batiste.

Newcastle is my first seagoing posting and consequently Operation SLIPPER will be my first deployment,” said SMN Batiste.

After the de-perming Newcastle was required to store ship for the last time in Australia.

ABML-C Vincent Valencia, one of the junior cooks onboard Newcastle, said he was looking forward to the six month deployment, but was not as excited about putting all the victuals away.

“We appreciated the assistance from all those who got involved; it made my job easier. We formed a traditional ‘daisy chain’ with personnel of all ranks and categories. It snaked from the delivery truck all the way to the Potato Locker,” said AB Valencia.

On completion of her visit to Fleet Base West, Newcastle proceeded to sea, conducted sea qualification trials and had a two night visit to Fremantle.

Newcastle is now sailing for the Middle East Area of Operations to participate in Operation SLIPPER for six months.

Press Release, May 22, 2013; Image: Australian Navy