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Officers complete Air Engineering Systems course

By Matthew Hibberd

HMS SULTAN have celebrated a group of Junior Officers who have completed their training within the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Navy Air Engineering & Survival Equipment School; each of them finishing their Air Engineering Systems Engineering and Management Course (SEMC(AE)) at the Gosport training establishment.

The SEMC(AE) for Graduate Officers is designed to prepare junior Air Engineer Officers for their first complement appointment in the Fleet Air Arm, training and educating them to administer an air engineering department; which ensures that all maintenance and support tasks are met effectively.

They must also direct the maintenance and support of all engineering equipment and systems in his/her charge; whilst further be able to organise, train and manage the officers, senior and junior ratings of their department who are in their charge.

Phrase 1 began at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth with twenty-nine weeks of training on core values and standards; including Militarisation, Defence Studies and Initial Fleet Time (when the cadets embark into one of His Majesties Ships).

Prior to joining HMS Sultan the Air Engineer Officers (AEOs) conduct Specialist Fleet Time onboard the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers; which is done to gain an appreciation of how the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) operate in the maritime environment. This was followed by a final leadership assessment on the River Dart incorporating FAA aircraft.

Officers then joined HMS Sultan in January 2023 to undertake the SEMC(AE); the course that prepares students for their first AEO assignment on a Naval Air Squadron (NAS) as an Assistant AEO and then onto Deputy AEO. The course consists of an aircraft system technical phase, applied aircraft management and operating on a simulated squadron. This ends in an Air Engineer Qualifying Board, where students showcase their understanding of how the FAA generates operational aircraft while managing risk to life in the aviation environment.

On successful completion of SEMC(AE); the students will progress on to their next assignments at RNAS Culdrose, RNAS Yeovilton and RAF Marham. They will split into four forces; which are titled as Merlin Helicopter Force, Commando Helicopter Force, Wildcat Maritime Force and F-35. Each student will learn their aircraft specifics, earning a Certificate of Competency (CofC) and will be awarded authorisations as fully trained AEOs.

This will help with enabling them to deploy with aircraft across the globe. Lt Asad Khan (Pakistan Navy) will return to Pakistan to become Deputy AEO of a P3C Squadron where he can share his experiences with his peers.

Sub Lieutenant Benjamin McGregor-Hart received the class award for overall contribution, which was presented by the Worshipful Company of Fuellers Senior Warden, Elena Oderstone.  Ben successfully completed his AIB to be sponsored to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool. Joining BRNC in September 2021 his Naval Training has taken him across the world from Norway to Singapore, he looks forward to more travel with 820NAS his first assignment.

Ben said: “There were many good times during SEMC, a highlight would be the first opportunity to visit the Naval Air Squadrons enabling us to be able to put context to our learning. Passing both my final synthetic 760 Squadron assessment and Air Engineer Qualifying Boards board has provided a big sense of achievement for me and the course, giving us confidence to go forward and join the Fleet Air Arm as the next generation of AEOs.”

PICTURED BY PEPE HOGAN: Group photograph of qualified Junior Officers from AE SEMC 22-001.