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August 5, 2010
THE motto of 'bee happy' has a
whole new meaning for HMAS
Stirling's Gunnery Department,
which regularly demonstrates
its 'big bang' theory of five-inch guns
and exploding armour-piercing shells at
Lancelin Naval Gunfire Support Range.
Located about 200km north of Stirling,
Lancelin Naval Gunfire Support Range is
where naval gunnery support has learnt to
co-exist with the environment -- particu-
larly the honey bees that produce the 'Bee
Happy' brand of organic honey, which is
part of a $9 billion export industry.
LEUT Kimberly Healy, Stirling's
Gunnery Officer, said the Gunnery
Department operated the range frequently
throughout the year during exercises such
as FCP and ASWEX, as well as for pre-
deployment work-up training by FFHs
deploying on Operation Slipper.
But the Navy would probably feel the
sting of bee-keepers and possibly the bees
themselves if it did not take environmental
considerations into account when using
the range -- which has been in use since
"Of course we have to be very mindful
of environmental considerations and our
responsibilities," LEUT Healy said.
LEUT Healy said Defence had been
working closely with locals, including the
bee-keepers, to allay their concerns about
the environment -- particularly in Spring
when the bees flock to Lancelin for the
"Defence and the locals are working
together to achieve the Navy training seri-
als with minimum impact on the public
and the environment," she said.
LEUT Healy said Navy got excel-
lent value from Lancelin Naval Gunfire
Support Range, which is the only gunnery
range on the west coast where RAN war-
ships can practice naval gunfire support
during exercises and work-ups before
deploying on operations to the Gulf.
"The PWO sea week during ASWEX
is another time we activate Lancelin
Range for gunnery support, which can
involve as many as five warships and two
submarines" she said.
The range, which covers 13,000 hec-
tares, also has a demolitions area and bun-
ker within the Lancelin impact area, used
mainly by AUSCDT Four and occasion-
ally the Army engineers.
The range itself is also used for a
variety of purposes such as tactical explo-
sive ordnance disposal as well as the
demolition of obsolete ordnance. Counter-
terrorism training and Army's Special Air
Service cadre courses are also conducted
on the range.
In addition to conducting the range,
the Gunnery Department also helps with
Navy's community engagement program
by planning and organising ceremonial
support for days of national significance,
including Anzac Day.
"We manage this for Navy throughout
Western Australia," LEUT Healy said.
"We get a very large number of
requests from throughout WA for Navy
support at Anzac Day dawn services and
banner parties for marches.
"It's a big people management process
to send Navy people to all the little towns
throughout WA who request our support."
HMAS Stirling's Gunnery
Department does a wonderful
job for the RAN, ensuring Fleet
capability while co-existing with
Michael Brooke reports.
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