High-flyer boosts aerial workforce

Optimising Navy’s future uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) workforce was just one of the achievements that landed Lieutenant Fiona Nguyen a Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in this year’s King’s Birthday awards.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Fiona Nguyen in front of a Shiebel S-100 air vehicle at 822X Squadron, HMAS Albatross. Story by Captain Karam Louli. Photo by Petty Officer Justin Brown.

Lieutenant Nguyen was acknowledged for producing “an exemplar of workforce plans” after her recommendations on growing Navy’s UAS personnel to more than 170.

She engaged with many stakeholders to find the best way to optimise the workforce and provided capability sponsors with significant market analysis on UAS equipment.

“I considered our exponential growth over the next few years and tried to develop the best organisational structure which would suit Navy’s UAS future,” Lieutenant Nguyen said.

While at the Aviation Directorate of Surface Combatants and Aviation Branch, Lieutenant Nguyen provided technical advice about payload sensors, including electro-optical infrared cameras, multi-spectral cameras and electronic warfare capabilities.

“Sensor payloads on a UAS is one of the most important aspects of the aircraft. It delivers the capability effect such as reconnaissance and surveillance,” she said.

“The air vehicle (drone) itself acts as a vessel to deliver the capability of the payload sensor.”

Now, Lieutenant Nguyen is helping to implement her recommendations as the deputy aviation engineering officer at 822X Squadron.

“I am now trialling sensor payload technologies on our current Schiebel S-100 air vehicles, which I had previously contributed to their acquisition,” she said.

Lieutenant Nguyen’s efforts on the workforce plan and technical expertise earned her a CSM for meritorious service in aviation capability development.

It was a proud moment shared with her biggest supporter, her mother.

“After high school I faced a fork in the road, study a Bachelor of Biomedicine at University of Melbourne or study electrical engineering at ADFA. I chose to join Navy and study at ADFA,” Lieutenant Nguyen said.

“It feels surreal to be acknowledged for my work. I feel vindicated for all the years of hard work from high school, university to the present day.”


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