HMAS Sydney Goes Silent

HMAS Sydney Goes Silent

All it took to reinforce that HMAS Sydney could get the job done no matter what was a week-long exercise to simulate the loss of vital naval communications satellites.

According to the ship’s Communications and Information Systems subject matter expert, Chief Petty Officer James Scorer, Exercise SILENT BANSHEE proved that matters such as the loss of communications satellites are not insurmountable.

 “For us it was a case of business as usual,” CPOCIS Scorer said.

“We cranked up our RATT (Radio Automated Tele Type) equipment and began transmitting messages. And to reinforce the point, our Commanding Officer, Commander Karl Brinckmann, made an HF telephone call to the Director General Navy Communications and Information Warfare (DGNCIW), Captain Jeffrey Goedecke.”

For signal traffic between ships, UHF and, for longer distances, HF was used.

 “This exercise did highlight that we have become a little too reliant on email for communications,” CPO Scorer said.

According to CMDR Brinckmann, going silent on the satellites did have other advantages.

 “Without wi-fi, I noticed the crew playing cards and relaxing. It also meant that the ship-to-shore correspondence ceased, although no doubt it will be waiting for us when we leave SILENT BANSHEE and return to the 21st Century,” he said.

“The exercise was designed not only to put some pressure on the ship but to ensure the shore communications stations could provide the services required to support the ships at sea.”

HMAS Sydney was recenlty embedded in the U.S Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group. This embed was a solid training opportunity that will greatly enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s preparedness for the incoming Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers.

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