IT’S the main hub responsible for transforming rookie sailors into warfare specialists.
And now the Royal Navy’s Maritime Composite Training System (MCTS) facility at Fareham’s HMS Collingwood has welcomed its 10,000th trainee.
The facility, designed, developed and operated by BAE Systems in partnership with the Senior Service, replicates ‘Ops rooms’ found on-board all the Royal Navy’s major warships.
Its simulated warfare training programme sees trainees taking part in a wide variety of possible at-sea scenarios, using the same software technology they would be working with if they were deployed on operations.
The training gives operations room crew members and warfare specialists on board Type 23 frigates, Type 45 destroyers and Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers the opportunity to hone their skills from the safety of the shore before joining their ships.
Able Seaman Matthew North is the latest to have completed his course at the MCTS site.
Now a qualified warfare specialist, Portsmouth-based Matthew will soon be joining the crew of a Type 23 frigate.
It is second time around for Matthew, who first joined the Royal Navy as a steward when he left school.
After serving on a variety of ships for 11 years, he took two years out before rejoining the Royal Navy on a different career path.
Speaking about his training, Matthew said: ‘Being in the Royal Navy is a strong career, with continuous opportunities to develop important skills.
‘The simulated warfare training course was challenging and intense but very valuable. I’m now well prepared for my new role on ship and I’m really looking forward to joining the rest of the crew.’
Neil Stewart, BAE Systems Maritime Services head of training, said: ‘The training carried out at HMS Collingwood is all about ensuring our sailors are as well prepared as possible for potential conflict at sea. We’re extremely proud of the part we play in that.
‘Our highly complex and sophisticated systems replicate the control rooms on up to 30 virtual and real ships anywhere in the world, so operators can get a realistic experience and develop their skills in a wide variety of scenarios with no risk to themselves or their colleagues.’
BAE Systems supports the Royal Navy with individual and group training through the MCTS, and operator and maintainer training for the Astute-class of submarines.
The defence giant is also supporting training for the future crews of the navy’s Type 26 frigate.