Navy’s deployed ship in the Middle East, HMAS Arunta, has had its small arms weapons inspected, serviced and certified during a recent port visit.
HMAS Arunta is serving on a nine-month Operation MANITOU deployment which has necessitated an all-important maintenance period.
With all previous ships only spending six months away, the requirement to have weapons inspected and maintained while in the area of operations had not been required.
The fly-away team was required as embarked personnel are not qualified to conduct the tightly-controlled specific technical maintenance which is undertaken by the joint logistic units at Australian major
bases in Sydney and Perth.
Air Force Ground Mechanical Equipment Fitter Corporal Brian Wilson and Army Fitter Armament Lance Corporal Andrew Smith were sent across from Australia’s main operating base to work with Navy personnel to achieve the outcome.
Corporal Wilson said he was positively surprised at the condition of the weapons given the unique conditions of maritime operational environment.
“They were in excellent condition,” Corporal Wilson said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this can be attributed to the vigorous onboard maintenance policy they have in place.
“They did well to keep corrosion off the weapons.”
Lance Corporal Smith said they serviced more than 40 weapons.
“I concentrated on servicing the ship’s complement of heavy machine guns,” Lance Corporal Smith said.
“It was challenging working in such tight conditions onboard the ship.”
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Patrick Birch said having the two specialists onboard was a positive experience and had taught him a lot.
“They were very professional and knowledgeable on the weapon systems,” Able Seaman Birch said.
"It was a pleasure working with them.”
HMAS Arunta operates as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, predominately tasked to support Combined Task Force
150 for counter-terrorism and maritime security operations.
Arunta is supporting international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region
CPL Bill Solomou (author)