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10 Years Of Shipbuilding - The Auxiliary Man

As a member of the Defence industry for over 35 years, Bruce McIntee brings a wealth of knowledge to his role of Test & Activation Auxiliary Systems Manager as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance.

Growing up in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, Bruce remembers his father building a yacht in their own front yard. Assisting his father with this project helped Bruce learn skills in areas such as carpentry and welding, and this motivated him to start an apprenticeship with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). 

Bruce spent nine years with DSTO as a Fitter & Turner before accepting a role at the then Australian Submarine Corporation working on the Collins Class submarines. After 19 years working on submarines, Bruce moved to ASC Shipbuilding where he joined the Air Warfare Destroyer project.

“I was very lucky to be one of the first people to start work on the build of the Collins Class submarines and was there through the production, set-to-work and trials. I was then given the opportunity to be a part of the AWD project, where I’ve had further opportunities to increase my knowledge and acquire new skills.”

“Test & Activation is a great role because you get to see the product come alive. We take a system that is built, but lifeless, and we input the energy sources which brings it to life, able to continue to the next phase, which is to test the product alongside and at sea before handing it over to the navy.”

Through his role with the AWD Alliance, Bruce has gained a Masters Degree in Systems Support Engineering. “Since first starting with the Alliance I have moved up into other positions, and have been given the opportunity to undertaken University and other studies. This is something I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I weren’t working in the Defence industry,” Bruce said.

When asked what motives him and why he enjoys working in shipbuilding, Bruce replied, “Every day brings new challenges, but also new opportunities. When the ship’s systems and equipment are tested for the first time and you are able to witness the ship successfully complete trials at sea; that’s the real reward.”

“Being a part of the team responsible for both our first destroyer Hobart, and most recently Brisbane, during the sea trials period is one of the most memorable moments of my time on the AWD project. These milestones are the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication of every person involved.”

“When you’ve had the opportunity to see something being built from day one, starting as just sheets of steel and bits of pipe, right through to seeing electrical power coming on for the first time, to then seeing it operate – turning motors, steering, propulsion – that’s what this industry is all about.” 

“For anyone who is considering joining the shipbuilding industry, but is unsure how their skill set would transfer over, just think of shipbuilding as a big assembly line,” Bruce explained.

“You’re on the conveyor and you’re slowly putting parts together and in the end you have a fully operational ship. Initially, the skill sets differ slightly but if someone is prepared to commit to self-education, and willing to put in the time, they’ll reap the rewards.”

The Auxiliary Man

“When you’ve had the opportunity to see something being built from day one - starting as just sheets of steel and bits of pipe, right through to seeing it operate for the first time - that’s what this industry is all about.”
Bruce McIntee - Test & Activation Auxiliary Systems Manager, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance