Making the switch from the skies to the seas – Naval Shipbuilding College

Making the switch from the skies to the seas

Thursday, June 24, 2021

After eight years’ working in aviation engineering in Brisbane, Johnny returned to his home state of South Australia in 2020 to join Naval Group Australia as an Integrated Logistics Support Engineer. 


“Coming from a commercial aviation background, I was fortunate to have spent time in reliability engineering and gain a thorough understanding of the importance of asset management,” Johnny said. 


“Integrated Logistics Support – also known as ILS – is a discipline within systems engineering that looks at particular performance aspects of a machine,” Johnny explained.  


“For example, this discipline tries to answer questions like: How reliable is this machine? Is the machine/platform available when it is needed? and ‘Is this machine fixable if something fails? 


Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) plays a critical role in providing optimal systems for the customer. Initially developed for military systems, the ILS discipline is now used by commercial organisations. Due to the specialised nature of ILS, it can be difficult to describe, but has a very simple objective – lowering life cycle costs and making the system easier to support. 


“This experience and understanding means I am able to build on my previous experience and develop new skills that will influence the design and operation of submarines.” 


There are multiple elements in the ILS job function, including personnel, maintenance, facilities, training support, technical data and manuals, resources, equipment design, packaging, supplies and support equipment. 


The pathway to an ILS career is not always straightforward and people generally move into ILS after working for a number of years in a similar role, possibly starting out in a trade or engineering discipline, then incorporating project management.  


Johnny completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace and Mechanical) and gained eight years’ experience in the aviation industry working for companies such as Hawker Pacific Aerospace, Cobham Aviation and Virgin Australia.

Starting his career as a Graduate Project Manager he then moved into a Technical Scheduler role, progressing to Project Engineer and most recently Reliability Engineer for Virgin Australia, Johnny has become highly skilled in ILS philosophy and has been able to successfully navigate transitioning to a career the shipbuilding industry.

“ILS is crucial to our business and we need experienced engineers who understand the essential elements of ILS,” Johnny said. 


“The aviation industry has many similarities with shipbuilding, and aviation engineers have many transferrable skills.” 


“I am excited to be part of Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry and to have the opportunity of working on programs of such sovereign capability importance” Johnny said. 


There are many specialties within ILS, which gives you opportunities to really make your mark on Australia’s future submarines and I encourage anyone considering a career change to consider shipbuilding.” 


If you are interested in learning more about the exciting opportunities available in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry, join the NSC’s national Workforce Register today.

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