Exercise simulates sea combat

HMAS Anzac sailor Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Rebecca Davies monitors her console in the operations room of the frigate simulator at the Naval Engineering Support Centre at HMAS Stirling. Photo: Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft

Exercise simulates sea combat

Two Royal Australian Navy warships have conducted high-end simulated sea combat on opposite coasts as part of Exercise Viking Raider.

HMA Ships Brisbane and Anzac fought together in a real-time maritime warfare scenario using operation room simulators in NSW and Western Australia last month.

Personnel from Brisbane used the air warfare destroyer simulator at HMAS Watson to bring the Hobart-class warship’s advanced layered attack and defensive combat capabilities to the exercise.

At the same time, personnel from Anzac used the frigate simulator at HMAS Stirling to add long range air, surface and sub-surface capabilities to the scenario, in which they defended a high-value target against an adversarial force.

Royal Navy exchange officer Lieutenant Edwin Smith, Anzac’s Principal Warfare Officer, said Exercise Viking Raider tested the ship’s operations room crew in a multi-ship environment as well as improving the team’s skills.

“My job is to bring all the information from our internal sensors as well as the external information feeds together to give us a coherent picture, and piece that together with the law and rules of engagement in order to make recommendations to the captain,” Lieutenant Smith said.

“As an ops room crew, we’re looking to take away our own internal procedures and the drills experience we need in order to be able to work effectively as part of a task force.

“The beauty of using a simulator is that it gives us opportunities to conduct the drills as if it were for real. We can act as if we’re in a full wartime environment.

“You can’t replace the real world and how a ship acts and feels, but simulation means we can really fight the ship properly.”

Director of Navy’s Fleet Force Generation Directorate, Captain Pete Bartlett, said synthetic training through exercises like Viking Raider complemented traditional at-sea training and provided unique benefits.

“Simulation removes the restrictions of the real world by allowing for an increase in scale, density and complexity of the training environment,” Captain Bartlett said.

“We can challenge multiple ships working as a surface action group in high-end air warfare, surface strike and interdiction scenarios in a much more cost-effective way and without committing resources at sea. This also helps balance training needs with maintenance for our ships and respite requirements for our people.

“One of the biggest advantages of synthetic exercises is the ability to immediately play back the scenario afterwards, review the data and break down any lessons. Ships can see where they can do better and sharpen their response for the next run. You just can’t do that outside of a simulated environment.”


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