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September 13, 2012
NAVY'S fighter control capability
to the Fleet has been formalised with
the establishment of the Fleet Fighter
Control Element (FFCE) as a lodg-
er unit within 3CRU at RAAF Base
Senior Naval Officer HQ 42WG,
LCDR Jeff Davison said the establish-
ment of the FFCE was the culmination
of three years of study and consulta-
tion between Navy and Air Force.
"What has been developed is an
optimum model for delivery of pro-
fessional fighter control capability to
Navy," LCDR Davison said.
"In essence, a joint decision was
made in 2009 to retain Navy's air
intercept controllers, manage them as
a discrete capability to be renamed
the fighter control capability, and that
the 41WG categorisation and currency
scheme should be adopted."
This was officially formalised in
July this year.
LCDR Davison said it was accept-
ed that modern air control was depend-
ent on the interaction between pilot
"The generation and maintenance of
competent fighter controllers requires
regular live control opportunities and
this is best achieved in the RAAF Base
Williamtown areas," he said.
Navy Capability Committee agreed
that the pooling of fighter controllers
at Williamtown, and assigning them
to Fleet units as required, was a more
effective model to build skills and gen-
erate the required high-level capability.
The FFCE model was developed
from the fighter controller pooling
FFCE's four Navy fighter con-
trol billets reside within Commodore
Warfare Group at 3CRU and replace
New era in fighter control
Navy fighter controllers (FCs) appoint-
ed to the Fleet Fighter Control Element
form a deployable team whose primary
role is to provide maritime FC capabil-
ity at sea in support of Fleet activities.
This range of activity will include FFG
and DDG work-ups and other key
Navy maritime air defence training
activity, exercises and operations.
They will be tasked by COMWAR
CDRE Stuart Mayer as the Navy FC
When not deployed in support of Fleet
activities, FFCE members will be
employed within 3CRU and tasked by
CO 3CRU in support of normal opera-
tional and exercise activity.
Ten Navy FCs are posted as
Surveillance Control Officers at 2SQN,
operating the E7A Wedgetail aircraft
under 42WG CCS.
BECOMING A FIGHTER CONTROLLER
NAVY fighter controllers (FCs) under-
take the six-month RAAF air combat
officer (air battle manager) course at
RAAF Base East Sale before com-
pleting five weeks of advanced train-
ing at the Surveillance and Control
Training Unit at RAAF Williamtown.
FCs streaming to the FFCE then
undertake three weeks of 41WG
operational conversion training to
operate in the 3CRU environment
and are required to undertake combat
systems and maritime air defence
training at HMAS Watson before con-
trolling unsupervised at sea.
Those streaming to the air envi-
ronment undertake a six-month E7A
conversion course at 2SQN before
receiving the surveillance control
All FC volunteers are required to
pass a non-pilot aviation medical and
undergo FC aptitude testing.
Senior sailors must complete an
operations room supervisor posting
as POCSS, while officers must have
completed one year of consolidation
of their bridge warfare certificate.
FC volunteers from the MWO,
MCO and senior sailor communi-
ties should contact their appropriate
NPCMA career manager with expres-
sions of interest.
A Defence Instruction-Navy is due
to be released later this year, dealing
with Navy FC capability management.
Senior Naval Officer
HQ 42WG LCDR Jeff
Davison, OIC FFCE
LEUT Rhys Ryan, and
CO 3CRU WGCDR
Rob Saxton stand
Photo: CPL Mark McConnell
''-- LCDR Jeff Davison, Senior
Naval Officer HQ 42WG
What has been
developed is an
for delivery of
control capability to
four FFG-based fighter control billets.
All current Fleet-based fighter control-
lers will remain with their ships until
the natural posting cycle expires in
Inaugural OIC FFCE, LEUT Rhys
Ryan said he was already reaping the
benefits of being based within 3CRU.
"In addition to the local weekly
flying program, the ability to interact
with my Air Force peers and mentors
on a daily basis is crucial in develop-
ing a deep understanding of air bat-
tlespace management and control pro-
cedures," he said.
LCDR Jeff Davison is also keen to
highlight the significant career rewards
for Navy personnel wishing to special-
ise as a fighter controller.
"Whether streaming to the air or
ground environments, there is a great
deal of variety and professional job
satisfaction to be had,"he said.
"The specialisation certainly paves
the way to future service in the AWDs
as a fighter controller, principal warfare
officer and force air warfare officer, plus
senior positions in the E7A community."
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