Royal Australian Navy HMAS Supply Successfully Test-fires Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systeme
Royal Australian Navy HMAS Supply Successfully Test-fires Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systeme

Royal Australian Navy HMAS Supply Successfully Test-fires Phalanx Close-in Weapon System

Royal Australian Navy HMAS Supply (A195) successfully completed a first-of-class firing trial of the Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) during a regional presence deployment. 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 specific detail of the planned firing. The success of the CIWS firing was a milestone moment for Supply, the ship’s company and Supply-class vessels. As an auxiliary oil replenishment ship, Supply’s primary function is replenishment of the fleet, but having a weapons defence system to defend against anti-ship missiles provides greater capability to the ship and those she sails with.

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. 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. Having conducted Supply’s first CIWS, and the first for its class, was fulfilling. There are not many people that can say they were the first to do something like this on an Australian warship”.

HMAS Supply arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in the 2022 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dylan Lavin/Australian Government Department of Defence)

HMA ships Supply, Canberra and Warramunga are sailing in company as part of a regional presence deployment. The Supply-class ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for deployed Australian naval or combat forces operating away from the nation for long periods. In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations following a natural disaster. Supply was tasked with supporting the Australian Government effort lead by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the Kingdom of Tonga in February 2022.

HMAS Supply (A195), named after the Royal Navy ship HMS Supply, is the lead ship of the Supply-class replenishment oilers built for the Royal Australian Navy by Navantia at their yard in Ferrol, Spain. The Australian Supply-class ships are based on the Spanish Navy’s replenishment oiler Cantabria. The vessel was launched on 18 November 2017 and commissioned on 10 April 2021. Supply was laid down on 18 November 2017 and launched at the Navantia Shipyards in Ferrol, Spain on 24 November 2018. Supply is the second Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship to bear the name after HMAS Supply (AO 195). On 2 October 2020, Supply arrived at Fleet Base West, Western Australia for final fit out and testing activities. Ship acceptance by the Department of Defence occurred on 8 January 2021.

HMAS Supply conducts a Close-in Weapon System firing trials during a 2022 regional presence deployment. (Photo by LSIS Ernesto Sanchez/Australian Government Department of Defence)