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STEM students get hands on with Naval engineering

Posted 20 June 2018 · Add Comment

A group of students from University Technical College (UTC) Portsmouth were given a week to remember recently as they gained hands-on experience of engineering with the Royal Navy at both HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood.

The students also learned about Weapons Engineering at HMS Collingwood.
Courtesy Royal Navy

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are schools for 14-19 year-olds that deliver technical education as well as core curriculum subjects and UTC Portsmouth enjoys a close relationship with the Royal Navy locally.

So 16 students, aged between 14-16 years old, spent three days within workshops at the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School learning how to rivet and were also treated to a tour of the technical training site at HMS Sultan.

Ben Medze-Kitching (left) assists Nathan Daw with his project at HMS Sultan.
Courtesy Royal Navy

The students then visited nearby HMS Collingwood, the home of Royal Navy Weapon Engineering, where they were introduced to the Phalanx Gun system which is fitted to the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers and which fires ninety 20mm rounds every 1.2 seconds.

Under the expert supervision and training of Petty Officer (PO) Alan 'Bash' Bates, they also experienced the power of the Automated Small Calibre Gun (ASCG) which is fitted to Type 23 frigates and used primarily to defend against fast inshore attack craft.

Complex engineering and gyro-stabilisation ensure accuracy despite the movement of the ship and the students were eager to experience what firing this gun would feel like as they sat at the controls.

This inspired many questions ranging from how to become a Royal Navy Weapons Engineer to whether female students could work and operate the guns, to which Bash gave many examples of successful women working in this area.

Student Jamie Himlin-Ladd was the first to volunteer to experience the ASCG and said afterwards, “It was very exciting and it made me feel very powerful!”

A visit to the Base’s impressive 4.5 inch Mark 8 gun rounded off the student’s practical demonstrations, where they learned about the mechanics of the gun and how the 37 kilogramme rounds are delivered to and fired from it.

UTC student Georgina Price displays her engineering skills.
Courtesy Royal Navy

Kirsty Parsons reflected on her visit to the two Bases and said: “It’s been really interesting to see the different styles of engineering and technology. Ultimately I’d like to be a mechanical engineer in the Royal Navy.”


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