On the eve of her combat system trials in the US, the crew of HMAS Brisbane has used the passage and time alongside San Diego to fully prepare for the important milestone.

The trials are the culmination of a concentrated combat system preparation and training period, which has been running for nearly 12 months.

Before deploying, Brisbane embarked a team from the United States, which has worked alongside the ship’s company to optimise the combat system and conduct operator training.

During the transit, Brisbane also had the opportunity to work with US Navy Destroyer Squadron 31, including USS Preble in Hawaii, and also alongside in San Diego to supplement and enhance the training.

For Commanding Officer Brisbane Commander Josh Wilson, interoperability with the United States Navy has been a driving factor during the preparation phases of the weapons firings.

“Having the US Navy Project Team on board and working with Destroyer Squadron 31 in Hawaii provided an excellent opportunity for the crew to be exposed to complex training scenarios that have enhanced our knowledge of the Aegis Combat System,” Commander Wilson said.

“We share a long and proud history with the US Navy and our officers and sailors work well together.

“With the introduction of Aegis we will be able to work closer and better integrate into joint exercises and operations.”

The journey has been significant for Deputy Electrical Engineering Officer Lieutenant Michael Whanslaw, who has been a part of the Air Warfare Destroyer Program since 2013.

“I joined the program in Adelaide when Brisbane was still blocks in the shipyard,” Lieutenant Whanslaw said.

“Since forming the crew in early 2017, the test and trials of the combat system have been our ultimate goal to progress the destroyer capability.

“It is exciting that we have reached the culmination of 12 months of planning and hard work.”

For Combat Systems Supervisor Petty Officer Neale Merrick, the training to prepare for the upcoming missile firings included courses in Moorestown, New Jersey, covering theory and practical training in the management and operation of the Aegis Combat System.

“The training provided by the US Navy has prepared me to operate the combat system to its full capability,” Petty Officer Merrick said.

“Since returning from the United States I have been able to put the skills into practise in an Australian warship and develop training scenarios for combat system operators and the electronics technicians.”

After completing her combat system trials, Brisbane is due to return to Australian in December.