Australia’s supply-class AOR ship tests Phalanx close-in weapons system

Royal Australian Navy’s lead Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessel, HMAS Supply, has completed a first-of-class firing trial of the Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) during a regional presence deployment.

As explained, the successful and safe completion of the firing exercise required careful planning, testing the gun system functionality and the safety mechanisms of the systems required.

The team then liaised with the operations crew on a specific detail of the planned firing, according to the navy.

Electronic Technician Leading Seaman Sam Chiswell said the training performed on board before a firing ensured the ship’s procedures were safe and efficient.

“In my role I maintain and operate the CIWS and prepare it for firings; this includes all safety checks, pre-firing and loading the live ammunition,” Leading Seaman Chiswell said.

“Our training helps to make sure procedures are fresh in our minds and communication with the warfare team in the operations room is correct, ensuring a smooth firing evolution.”

As an auxiliary oil replenishment ship, HMAS Supply’s primary function is the replenishment of the fleet, but having a weapons defence system to defend against anti-ship missiles provides greater capability to the ship. The vessel concluded first replenishment at sea in February this year in Tonga.

HMA ships Supply, Canberra and Warramunga are sailing as part of a regional presence deployment. Recently, the second Supply-class AOR ship HMAS Stalwart has been declared “mission ready” after conducting its first replenishment at sea (RAS).

The 173.9-meter AORs are built under the contract signed with Spanish builder Navantia and are based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria-class AORs.

Displacing 19,500 tons, the ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces.

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