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www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS September 12, 2013
POIS Paul Berry
NUSHIP Canberra's command team
has had its first taste of raw LHD ship-
handling, albeit at 1:20 scale.
CO Canberra CAPT Jonathan
Sadleir, XO CMDR Jonathan Earley
and navigating officer LCDR Calvin
Johnson spent four days in August
at the Australian Ship Handling
Centre -- Port Ash Australia near
Newcastle, practising and honing their
LHD ship-handling skills on the pur-
pose-built model, NUSHIP Assault.
CAPT Sadleir said time spent at
Port Ash was dedicated to assuring
the model accurately represented LHD
handling characteristics and working
through bridge management.
"It's been a superb couple of days
and it's pretty exciting. It's a versa-
tile and manoeuvrable vessel, but that
means it has more options we can
potentially use, which brings with it
a level of complexity," CAPT Sadleir
"The beauty of it is, with a facil-
ity like Port Ash and the available
simulation we have right now, we can
compensate and overcome those chal-
The hand-crafted LHD model took
about 12 months to complete and fea-
tures the unique azimuth pod (Azipod)
Interestingly, there is also a model
which supports Choules training.
Two 360-degree Azipod propulsion
units and two bow thrusters give the
LHD a high degree of manoeuvrability
in confined and shallow water.
"Due to the hands-on nature and
complexity of it, I am of the view that
there is a need for ship-handlers to
maximise simulation opportunities
to remain current, much like a pilot
would maintain currency in an air-
craft," CAPT Sadleir said.
"Additionally, there's clearly a cost
benefit. It's much cheaper to run a bat-
tery charged model than it is to run an
Port Ash is one of only a handful of
ship-model simulators in the world and
features 2.5 hectares of water of rang-
The scaling effects mean one nauti-
cal mile (1852m) becomes 74.08m,
three knots of wind becomes 15 knots
and one hour becomes 12 minutes in
Port Ash Director CAPT Cliff
Beazley said the centre offered naval
ship-handlers unique opportunities.
"We've built a finger wharf that
represents Fleet Base West and we use
the boat shed for an approximation
of Fleet Base East, so all the familiar
spots are there," CAPT Beazley said.
"For raw ship-handling you cannot
beat the real thing or the real thing in
miniature, which is what we've got
Tug masters from DMS Maritime
in Sydney were also on hand to devel-
op LHD berthing and departing pro-
"Berthing a ship is a system, and
the tug masters are part of that, hence
my desire to have them on the learning
journey with us," CAPT Sadleir said.
CMDR Earley said it was a bril-
liant training aid for the ship and its
"It's an impressive model in terms
of the control, the quality of the build
and the way it responds and manoeu-
vres," he said.
"It gives us a variety of environ-
mental conditions to work out our
individual skill sets and develop confi-
dence in using the system.
"In terms of manoeuvrability the
LHD is light years ahead of an Anzac-
class ship. An FFG comes close
because of its auxiliary propulsion
units, but the LHD with its Azipod sys-
tem plus the powerful bow thrusters,
you can do almost anything with it."
CPOATV Gordon Davis
THE avionics sailors of NUSQN725
may have finished their time in the
ordnance classroom, but they are find-
ing the US Navy's synthetic training
devices to be an extremely valuable
The sailors are using the devices
to maintain currency and hone their
warfighting skills, pending acceptance
of the first two Australian MH-60R
Seahawk Romeos in December.
POATV Luke Stevens recently
took charge of an AGM -- 114 Hellfire
weapon-loading evolution using the
MH-60R weapons loading trainer
(WLT) at NAS Jacksonville in the US.
"Loading a missile is a delicate,
confined task and a realistic training
device allows us to build our experi-
ence without using an expensive air-
craft," PO Stevens said.
"We achieved our aims and the
team continues to grow in confidence."
New training tool for NUSQN
ON TARGET: ABATV
Vanessa Issom performs
a pre-firing check of the
system before loading a
Photo: CPOATV Gordon Davis
In command of
what's to come
MODEL WORK: CO NUSHIP Canberra CAPT Jonathan Sadleir, standing,
and navigating officer LCDR Calvin Johnson pilot the model LHD,
NUSHIP Assault, to berth at Port Ash Australia. Canberra's command
team were joined at Port Ash by DMS tug masters, foreground, to develop
LHD berthing and departing procedures.
Photo: POIS Paul Berry
TEAM EFFORT: XO NUSHIP Canberra CMDR Jonathan Earley, seated, navigating officer LCDR Calvin
Johnson, standing, and Port Ash facilitator John Ryan hone their LHD ship-handling skills on NUSHIP
Assault, with DMS Maritime tug master Mal Anderson.
Photo: POIS Paul Berry
The RAN's WLT, procured under Air
9000 Phase 8, will be located in a new
training facility at HMAS Albatross.
The WLT realistically simulates
the aircraft's mission system pre-firing
checks and loading requirements for
Hellfire missiles, lightweight torpedoes,
sonobuoys and countermeasures.
IN TRANSIT: NUSHIP Assault is
transported from the workshop to the water.
Photo courtesy of Port Ash
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