Navy Snapshot 64-65 Page 4

 

SNAPSHOT 1964-65 - TODAY’S NAVY

 

Today’s Fleet , whilst relatively small, is versatile and mobile, and is backed by a comprehensive logistic and support organisation.

 

Exercises keep the ships at readiness in Australian waters and overseas. They are stored and equipped to go anywhere at short notice, and are prepared to meet any contingency arising out of the strategic situation. Even when undergoing maintenance at the Naval Dockyards in Sydney or Melbourne, ships can normally be ready for sea within forty-eight hours.

 

The logistics organisation includes large stores, ammunition establishments, and oil fuel installations. Naval radio stations in Canberra and Darwin, equipped with the most modern facilities, provide rapid communications with ships and Allied Naval Headquarters around the world.

 

Management is keeping pace with H.M.S. TRUMP. The manpower and equipment expansion in an increasingly complex Navy. Preparations are being made for the introduction of Electronic Data Processing, and a combined civil-naval staff is determining requirement; and systems. The management, organisational and procedures at Garden Island Dockyard are being reviewed in the light of the forthcoming demands of new ships and weapons.

 

Contributing to a balanced Naval force, a small group of scientists, controlled by a Director of Scientific Services, work at the Royal Australian Naval Experimental Laboratory in Sydney. They provide advice to the Navy on scientific problems, carry out experiments and operational research, and assist with the recording of data and analysis of exercises.

 

During 1963-64, the R.A.N. began co-operating with the United States Navy in a type of underwater “weather forecasting” that contributes to the efficiency of submarine detection. The Antisubmarine Warfare Environmental Prediction System, covering the Pacific area, is operated by the United States Navy from Guam. Australian warships provide oceanographic information direct to Guam, and in return the R.A.N. receives regular forecasts of underwater conditions.

 

Recent Additions

 

The R.A.N.’s antisubmarine capacity was greatly increased during the past financial year with the formation of the first Front-Line Squadron of Westland Wessex anti-submarine helicopters. H.M.A.S. Derwent, with her variable depth sonar, was another important addition. This new sonar equipment can be lowered to various depths beneath the sea and improves submarine detection.

 

The Navy introduced its first pilotless target aircraft to give a realistic test to Derwent’s SEACAT missiles. The performance of targets and missiles augured well for the future.

 

The commissioning of H.M.A.S. Moresby in March, 1964, gave the R.A.N. one of the best equipped survey ships iii the world. Moresby, the Navy’s first ship specifically designed for hydrography, was built by the Newcastle State Dockyard.

 

A Daring Class destroyer, H.M A.S. Duchess, arrived in Australia in April, 1964, on loan from Britain as an interim replacement for H.M.A.S. Voyager, lost in collision with H.M.A.S. Melbourne two months before.

 

Personnel

 

Recruiting and training for the R.A.N. have been adjusted to meet the demands of an expanding and increasingly complex Navy. The very successful special entry establishments, such as those for Junior Recruits and Apprentices, are being enlarged. A new supplementary list training scheme for seaman officers has been introduced, and additional avenues are being developed through which qualified ratings can gain commissions. Although it will be some time before the effects of the Defence Review of June 1964 can be fully assessed, the initial reaction has been encouraging. The Review has stimulated greater interest in direct entry schemes, has made re-engagement more attractive, and has prompted some former members of the Service to seek re-entry into the R.A.N.

 

The personnel strength of the permanent Naval forces at the 30th of June 1964, was 12,569. This is expected to rise to 13,660 in the next twelve months.

 

Training

 

The emphasis has been on preparing officers and men to man and operate the new ships and weapons. By the end of the 1964-65 financial year, 37 officers and 371 ratings will be in the United States either manning H.M.A.S. Perth or preparing for H.M.A.S. Hobart. In Britain, 14 officers and 172 ratings will be gaining experience ready to man the R.A.N.’s OBERON submarines. The R.A.N.’s first SEACAT missile crews were trained during the past year, and the exhaustive selection tests produced aimers and controllers who quickly proved their prowess against target aircraft. The new system for sending every general service recruit to sea within three months of joining the Navy was introduced in January, 1964. This scheme provides early practical experience before specialised training. Indications are that it will achieve the objective of streamlining the Service for modern needs. In 1965, the annual intake into the Apprentice Training Establishment near Sydney (H.M.A.S. Nirimba) will increase to 230, while annual entries into the Junior Recruit Training Establishment in Fremantle (H.M.A.S. Leeuwin) will rise to 600. From 1965, all Junior Recruit training will be centralised at Leeuwin, bringing to an end the temporary arrangements of training some Junior Recruits at H.M.A.S. Cerberus in Victoria.

 

Officers’ Courses

 

In March, 1964, the first group of supplementary list officers began their course at H.M.A.S. Cerberus. These young men, who after two years training will spend a minimum of seven years in the Seaman specialisation, will augment the flow of officers from the Royal Australian Naval College. A record total of 31 midshipmen graduated from the College in July, 1964, including the first six former ratings to obtain their Upper Yardman training in Australia. The first scholarships for entry into the Naval College were awarded during the past year.

 

The total strength of the Naval Reserve Forces at the 30th June, 1964, was approximately 5,200.

 

Following the Defence Review of June, 1964, an R.A.N. Emergency Reserve is being formed, comprising ex-members of the permanent Naval forces and selected reserves.

 

Supplementary list air crew training is continuing, and the first pilots trained since the re-introduction of the scheme in 1963 have obtained their wings.

 

The R.A.N. has ten officers on loan to the Royal Malaysian Navy, and is giving hydrographic training to officers and men of the Philippines Navy.

 

The regular scheme for the exchange of R.A.N. officers with officers of the Royal Navy and the United States Navy has continued.

 

Naval Reserve Forces

 

The growing complexity of Naval ships and equipment has resulted in an extensive reorganisation of the training programmes and advancement structure of the Naval Reserve Forces, to take into account the limited training availability of Reservists.

 

Women’s Services

 

Members of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service are undertaking increasing responsibilities, including service at the Naval Air Station at Nowra, where 68 Wrans relieved sailors for sea duties. Wrans are also being trained for gunnery and missile firing assessment.

 

The R.A.N. Nursing Service is being reintroduced to replace the system of employing civilian sisters in Naval hospitals. The new, uniformed service will be designed to cope with the special staffing requirements in Naval hospitals, and to meet the needs of an expanding Navy.

 

Civil Personnel

 

The expanding Navy is also placing a heavier work load on the civilian staff of the Department of the Navy, demanding wider technical knowledge and increased skills. Organisation reviews are in hand as a first step to coping with the new commitments.

The overall strength of the civil staff increased from 8,400 to 8,500 during 1963-64. Most of the civilians are employed in Naval Dockyards, workshops and stores.