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Navy bolsters submarine warfighting force

Navy bolsters submarine warfighting force
HMAS Anzac is photographed by a Submarine Advanced Warfare Course student through the periscope from HMAS Rankin during an anti-submarine warfare training activity conducted as part of Exercise Zeehond in the Western Australian Exercise area.

A new cohort of submariners have joined the warfighting fleet.

A new cohort of submariners have joined the warfighting fleet.

The Royal Australian Navy’s submarine warfighting force has been reinforced with the addition of seven graduates from the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course.

The submarine warfare officers (SMWOs) have qualified as watch leaders after completing an 11-day sea assessment phase in HMAS Rankin during Exercise Zeehond 2021.


The exercise included an anti-submarine warfare activity (CASEX) with HMAS Anzac, with the students engaging a warship at close range.

The graduates also participated in inshore operations, advanced serials against Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft, submarine tracking and basic intelligence collection on contacts of interest.

The newly qualified watch leader will now serve as the commanding officer’s representative on the watch, either as sonar officers or operations officers of a Collins Class submarine.

The watch leaders will fight and manoeuvre a submarine in three dimensions, including tactically positioning the boat to exploit the maritime environment.

When required, the watch leaders will also employ the Mk 48 torpedo, the Navy’s largest-calibre weapon.

The Submarine Advanced Warfare Course runs over five months at the Submarine Training and Systems Centre at HMAS Stirling, WA. 

The five-week course covers advanced warfare theory and narrowband training, with guest lecturers, a major written exam, three months of intensive simulator training and two weeks of simulator assessment involved throughout the period.

This culminates in a two-week sea assessment, Exercise Zeehond.

“It is essential training providing Navy with future SMWOs,” Director, Training Authority Submarines Captain Richard Lindsey said.

Prior to taking up the Submarine Advanced Warfare Course, students typically achieve their submarine sea qualification or earn their ‘Dolphins’ — undertaking postings as electronic warfare officer, ship’s communications officer and navigating officer in various HMA Submarines. 

While serving as watch leaders, personnel are likely to conduct all facets of submarine operations, including submarine tracking, close in anti-surface warfare, special forces employment, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

[Related: RAN welcomes new cohort of officers]

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