Australian Navy frigate crews take training ashore

Royal Australian Navy sailors recently took part in a simulated portion of a unit readiness exercise at Fleet Base West in Western Australia and HMAS Watson in Sydney.

Exercise Strongback Sim introduced a new era of training for the Australian Navy when part of HMAS Arunta’s work-up and HMAS Newcastle’s air warfare competency assessment, saw a significant component of the training take place alongside in a simulated environment.

Commodore Training, Commodore Michael Rothwell said Strongback Sim used an increased level of simulation to progress both individual and collective training.

“Traditionally, our collective training has been conducted completely at sea but this first week of Arunta’s work-up, which runs over five weeks, is being conducted alongside in a completely simulated environment,” he said.

During the exercise, Arunta and Newcastle were put through a number of simulated evolutions, including AW8 multi-unit warfare exercises, whole ship damage control and fire-fighting exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises and boarding operations.

Arunta also carried out a number of engineering casualty drills during the exercise.

Commodore Rothwell said there were many benefits to be had by conducting various evolutions in a simulated environment.

He said simulated training also allowed the ship’s company to practice high-end mission scenarios against a more realistic and challenging adversary than what would be available in a non-simulated environment.

Commodore Rothwell said while there will always be an obvious need for a significant amount of training to be conducted at sea, he expects a growth in the simulated component of Navy’s fleet work-up program.

“Certainly the new destroyers will need a simulated environment to challenge both the combat system and the ship’s company, but we still require some of the work-up to be conducted at sea as we need to experience the harshness of the maritime environment and to build skills that way,” he said.

During the course of the week, Arunta and Newcastle also took part in various synthetic war games with the command team from HMAS Parramatta which was located in the frigate simulator at Watson.

As part of exercise which was conducted concurrently on both sides of the continent, Sea Training Group trialed the use of specially developed software loaded onto electronic tablets to evaluate HMAS Arunta’s ship’s company, as part of that ship’s unit readiness training.

Commander Sea Training Commander Aaron Nye said the software, developed by Navy Information Management Systems, offered a number of benefits to the group, including the ability to quickly convert input from various trainers into a report that could be used to improve a ship’s response to a particular scenario.