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Ten Fire Control System Operators (FCS) / Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Royal Australia Navy (RAN) students graduated during a ceremony at the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS), onboard Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, July 3.

Commodore Steve McDowall, the Naval Attaché to the United States for RAN, and Capt. Bill McKinley, CSCS commanding officer, presided over the ceremony.

“Well done on your hard work, application, teamwork, results, and representation of Australia,” McDowall said. “Now, you are ready to take your knowledge and experience and help our Navy learn, implement, and execute AEGIS. You are the leading force of our new navy.”

McKinley discussed the importance of RAN and United States Navy’s partnership.

“We have built a strong relationship with RAN and as we progress with the AWD program, it will only get stronger,” McKinley said. “You are entering a new era - you will be the first Australian Sailors to work on Australian AEGIS equipment. You have worked very hard to stand where you are today. The RAN and USN are proud of your hard work and brilliant success.”

These Sailors will be manning the new Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (DDGs), which are equipped with the AEGIS Combat System. They first commenced training at the schoolhouse Jan. 13 and have gone through various courses, including AEGIS Radar System (SPY) AWD.

Petty Officer Nicholas Newman, RAN’s AEGIS weapon system supervisor, has gone through the rigorous training since the beginning of the new year.

“The instructors have a wealth of knowledge,” Newman said. “They have shared their experience with AEGIS and the FCS AWD course is the best maintenance and operating course I have gone through. This training has empowered us to do our best and meet the challenges of delivering this future capability.”

The Center for Surface Combat Systems mission is to develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority. CSCS headquarters’ staff oversees 14 learning sites and provides almost 70,000 hours of curriculum for close to 700 courses a year to more than 40,000 Sailors.

CSCS also provides international training coordinated through its Security Assistance and International Programs directorate. The mission of CSCS International Programs is to provide allied forces quality training to enable them to develop ready teams capable of operations that maintain and expertly employ surface combatants. The directorate partners with U.S. training, readiness, and policy organizations, as well as other government agencies and industry to support international missions.

For information on the Center for Surface Combat System, visit