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April 14, 2011
By LEUT Katey Mouritz
THE Submarine Escape Training
Facility at HMAS Stirling recom-
menced training submariners in escape
techniques in March.
Tendering and licensing issues forced
the centre to cease training in 2008, with
RAN submariner trainees sent to Canada
to complete their training.
The resumption of pressurised sub-
marine escape training at the centre is
the culmination of more than two years
of solid efforts to plan, train, assess and
licence the combined RAN and contrac-
tor workforce to safely deliver this spe-
cialised skill to submariners.
The centre provides realistic under-
water escape training to submariners
based at Stirling and is designed around
a towering six-storey high water tank,
which is one of the deepest of its kind
in the world. The facility simulates an
underwater escape to a depth of 180
Escape training is a vital skill sub-
mariners must learn as part of initial
training and requalify in every three
years. The centre's new in-water work-
force provider -- The Underwater Centre
Fremantle -- has been working closely
with the RAN to train and qualify staff.
Chief of Navy VADM Russ Crane
said the reintroduction of training at
Stirling represented an important step
in strengthening submarine training
Sub escape training returns to FBW
By Michael Brooke
A CHANCE meeting with a former
Oberon-class submarine command-
er inspired ASLT Anthony Hoff to
join the RAN with the goal of serv-
ing in the "Silent Service".
ASLT Hoff is one of six aspiring
submariners among the 44 junior
officers who graduated from the
Junior Warfare Application Course
(JWAC) 51 at HMAS Watson on
"I joined the RAN specifically to
be a submariner after hearing tales
from Tony Parker, a former com-
mander of two
O-boats," he said.
said his goal had
always been to
enter the subma-
rine service with
the aspiration of
one day passing
course and tak-
ing command of
there to be a lot
of really hard work -- but also a lot of
fun -- between this day and the day I
pass the course for submarine com-
manding officers," he said.
The opportunity to serve in one of
the RAN's Collins-class submarines
has truly captivated ASLTs Hoff,
Luke Sondergeld and Jason Shegog,
and SBLTs Mitchell Thomas, Richard
Martin and Josephine Chee.
The six officers were recently post-
ed to the Submarine Force where they
will continue their training in pursuit
of their goal of one day commanding a
They are the first JWAC Phase
IV (Shore) graduates to have their
careers in the Submarine Force fast-
tracked by the Submarine Officer
Training Course (SMOTC).
The SMOTC graduates, who are
now posted to HMAS Farncomb and
HMAS Waller, said the initiative
allowed them to save time in their
The SMOTC is conducted at the
Submarine Training and Systems
Facility at HMAS Stirling and spans
29 weeks. It marks the first milestone
in a submarine for seaman, marine
JWAC Phase IV
to launch their
as submariners before achieving the
Bridge Warfare Certificate (BWC)
Primary Qualification (PQ).
"Options now exist to begin sub-
marine training before achieving
PQ, with completion of JWAC Phase
IV (Shore) as the minimum require-
ment," LEUT Atkinson said.
He said this option allowed JWAC
Phase IV (Shore) officers to gain their
BWC in a Collins earlier than previ-
ously possible, and avoided the delay
of specialist submariners having to
first gain their BWC on a surface
"This is a major step forward in our
efforts to improve and expand our sub-
marine force," VADM Crane said.
"With a fourth crew still on the cards
for later this year, this facility will allow
our submariners to gain and maintain
their pressurised escape training quali-
fications more quickly and under the
safest conditions available."
The revamped centre has recently
passed its first major test with groups of
trainees completing the five-day course.
Silent service beckons
junior warfare grads
training instructors open
the hatch to the single-
man escape tower
while, inset above, a
trainee ascends to the
surface during the five-
day submarine escape
Photos: LSIS Phillip Cullinan
"I expect there to be
a lot of really hard
fun -- between this day
and the day I pass the
course for submarine
-- ASLT Anthony Hoff
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