LHD Training Facility opened for future crews of the LHD (photo : Aus DoD)
Mascot, Sydney. (IMP) -- Minister for Defence Materiel, Dr Mike Kelly, today opened the training facility for future crews of the Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), the largest ships ever to be built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and which are currently under construction at BAE Systems Williamstown shipyard.
Originally a warehouse, the 4000 square meters of space at Mascot has been transformed into a purpose-built, state-of-art base for the training needs of future LHD crews and will house simulated training suites, LHD ship-fitted equipment, classrooms, a common room and a fitted-out office area for the instructors and Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who will work from the centre.
Director of BAE Systems Maritime, Bill Saltzer said: “For the crews it will be a virtual LHD so they can gain a real understanding of what it will be like to be on board the Navy’s biggest ships and for the Navy it will be one of the most advanced training facilities currently available in Australia."
“The equipment installed has the ability to replicate any scenario, incident or event the LHDs may encounter which means the crews that will be trained here will be familiar with all the ship’s capability and systems before they even step on board."
“We have even constructed a marine evacuation system at the facility where crews can be trained in emergency evacuation procedures.”
As part of the training facility, BAE Systems also established a collection of historical information on Australia’s amphibious history. The storyboards on display span Australia’s amphibious history from the very first 1914 amphibious landings in German New Guinea, which successfully defeated German troops, through to the more recent amphibious operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
“This rich 99-year history has been researched and assembled by BAE Systems staff to encourage sailors, soldiers and airmen to understand their heritage while facilitating their learning of contemporary amphibious concepts and doctrine,” Mr Saltzer said.
Classes start on Monday 6 May. More than 700 personnel will be trained over the next two and a half years. The facility can also be used for follow-on training and Through Life Support Training as well managing and conducting future training needs for the ADF, Command Team Training and further RAN/ADF training.
Work on the first of the LHDs is progressing with handover scheduled for early next year. The hull of the second ship is currently under construction at the Navantia shipyard in Spain and is expected to arrive at Williamstown in the first quarter of 2014.