The ‘boats’ of the Australian Submarine Force once again operated as a ‘pack’ at sea, sailing in support of each other in Exercise DOUBLE TROUBLE. DOUBLE TROUBLE was a combined Operational Workup/Unit Readiness Evaluation period for HMA Submarines Collins (Commander Glen Miles) and Dechaineux (Commander Jason Cupples). Additional supporting units included HMAS Waller (Commander Michael Manfield) and HMAS Anzac (Captain Peter Quinn) as well as aircraft from 816 Squadron and 5 Squadron RNZAF.
Sea Training Unit-Submarines simultaneously embarked in two submarines to cover the intensive operational training required to assist them in achieving such an important milestone. The gruelling two weeks at sea put the submariners through their paces as they regularly conducted CASEX anti-submarine warfare exercises in conjunction with aircraft and surface units. Of the 30 sorties flown by 816 Squadron, two thirds were against submarine targets, providing an extra level of challenge for the submariners while enhancing the overall anti-submarine warfare capability of the Fleet. The underwater warriors also seized the opportunity to hone their skills by taking periscope photography of other units from all angles. A particular highlight was the submarine interaction – the three participating submarines pitted against each other in a series of exercises designed to train them in tracking and attacking other submarines. All three crews enjoyed the chance to prove their supremacy of the briny deep, although no clear victor emerged! No operational workup process would be complete without weapons firings, and DOUBLE TROUBLE was no exception. Ably assisted by Anzac, Dechaineux fired the highly advanced Mk 48 ADCAP heavyweight torpedoes, achieving weapons certification by successfully engaging and ‘killing’ the ‘enemy’ warship. Exercise DOUBLE TROUBLE marks an important milestone in Australia’s submarine capability as well as providing a preview of Fleet operations to come as the new Fleet Operating Concept is implemented. Greater interaction between surface, subsurface and air assets presents an enjoyable challenge for the crews involved, but it also increases the level of training, experience and ultimately the standard of anti-submarine warfare proficiency throughout the Australian Fleet. The Wolf Pack now prepare to go their separate ways, with all submarines scheduled to continue in various operations and exercises. They all remain equally committed to the maxim that there really only are two types of ships – submarines, and targets.
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,