The function of the Combat Department is to maintain a state of operational readiness and fighting efficiency which will enable the ship to execute any assigned mission successfully. In order to accomplish this, the Combat Department relies on the skills and strengths of its members to fight effectively as a team. The department is made up of personnel who work in the Operations Room (the nerve center of every warship), the Communications Control Room (the ears of the ship), and those that serve on the Bridge (the eyes of the ship).
The Combat Department is led by the ship's Combat Officer. The Weapon's officer and the Operations Officer provide the support and leadership required to smoothly run a large department in a one and two watch system.
Furthermore, the Combat Department is broken down into numerous teams, all of which are described below.
The Navigation and Meteorological Section
The Navigation section is the smallest section in the Combat Department and is responsible for many various duties. The ship's Navigating Officer, charts our courses around the world and keeps track of everything that the ship does. Given the fact that on a deployment, a ship can cross many time zones, the Navigator aboard OTTAWA ensures the ship’s company is aware of time changes. The Navigator’s Yeoman ensures that all of the charts and publications we might require are up to date and correct.
The weather forecaster keeps a watch on the weather affecting the ship along its route. Other duties include daily time checks, weather briefings, and keeping track of the ship logs. One of the more important duties which falls to the Met Section is the mail. This section handles all of the incoming and outgoing mail on board which can prove to be a rather difficult task due to the distance the ship may travel. Essentially, the Met section assumes the duties of Post Master.
The Sonar Operators are the Under Water Warfare experts on board. They are responsible for the operation of active and passive acoustic equipment; acoustic simulators; internal and external communication equipment; acoustic range prediction systems; and noise monitoring, recording and bathythermograph equipment. Their mission is to search, detect, localize, identify, classify, correlate and disseminate acoustic information; gather and evaluate oceanographic data; and feed that information into the recognized maritime picture. Ultimately, SONAROPs are responsible for searching and tracking submarines while at sea.
The Naval Communicators
The new Communications section is the result of amalgamation of the old Naval Signalmen and Naval Radio Operators. This new section provides one stop shopping for all the ship's communications needs. The Naval Communicator section is responsible for setting up and maintaining all operational circuits, transmitting and receiving inter-ship and ship-shore messages, and distributing messages to command and the various departments in OTTAWA. They are also responsible for encoding and decoding tactical signals, for all visual signalling, for shipboard ceremonial procedures, and for the maintenance of all computer software and information technology hardware.The Naval Combat Information Operators
This team of experts produce and update a computer generated plot in order to provide the ship’s command team with an operational and tactical view of the surrounding world through the use of OTTAWA's on board sensors such as radars and Interrogate Friend or Foe (IFF), etc. Each of these highly skilled operators is trained to handle all forms of naval warfare including sub-surface, surface and anti-air. The Naval Combat Information Operator (NCIOP) is also responsible for internal and external voice reports, data link co-ordination, blind pilotage navigation, and anti-collision radar reporting. The four tenants of the NCIOP: collect, display, evaluate, and disseminate.
The Naval Electronic Sensor Operators
The Naval Electronic Sensor Operators (NESOP) are the surface and air warfare experts in OTTAWA. Their responsibilities can be broken into three broad categories: electronic warfare to include the detection of electronic emissions, intelligence gathering, as well as firing and launching all above water weapons.
The systems used to detect radar and communications from other ships, aircraft, and submarines are: the CANEWS for detection of emitters, and the AN/SRD-502 communication interception unit.
OTTAWA has many advanced, high-tech weapons at her disposal. These include, SHIELD Chaff and IR systems, RAMSES jammer, 20 mm Vulcan Phalanx Close in weapons system (gattling gun), a Bofors 57mm gun, RIM 7 Sea Sparrow, and SSM Harpoon missiles. All of which make OTTAWA a formidable opponent.
Last but not least, the NESOP division takes a lead role in the ship’s intelligence team. In this capacity they are directly responsible to the Commanding Officer for ensuring the Command team is kept up to date on all worldly and military affairs by providing the team with briefs about other countries and their capabilities as well as gathering information on our current operating areas.