Sailor Profile: Weapon maintenance crucial on warship

MS Stephen Hawco, weapons engineering technician onboard HMCS Charlottetown, conducts maintenance on a Close in Weapons System compressor motor while in the Red Sea on Operation Metric.

What makes a warship effective? Is it the large powerful weapons on board a ship, or is it the crew of dedicated highly-trained sailors who operate and maintain them? 

Anyone who has sailed on a warship knows it’s the entire crew working together to complete the mission at hand that makes a ship powerful.

Keeping the warship’s weapon systems working and ready to fight is a challenging yet crucial task. The days of lighting a fuse to fire a canon are long gone. Today, warships are highly sophisticated with weapons systems made of electronics, hydraulics, and electrical and mechanical systems. They all work together to protect the ship and defeat the enemy.

For MS Stephen Hawco, a weapons engineering technician currently serving on board HMCS Charlottetown, it’s his job to ensure the weapons are always ready to fight. 

“One of the most rewarding parts about my job is when a weapons system goes down and it’s under a tight timeline – you need to have the ability to get into the system and rectify the fault in order to bring the weapons system back online, so the ship can continue its mission,” says MS Hawco. 

Weapons engineering technicians have a wide variety of weapons to maintain such as the 57mm Gun, Missiles, Torpedoes, Close-in Weapons System, and all of the ordnance that go along with them. 

“Being a Weapons Engineering Technician allows me to work with my hands on the equipment and I’m always learning new things and furthering my education,” says MS Hawco.

The job can be challenging. “It’s an ever evolving job; everyday you get up it’s a new job, a new task and you have to evolve with it and move along,” says MS Hawco. 

Striving to stay current with new technology keeps the technicians busy maintaining their knowledge of the systems onboard.

Like many sailors this is not MS Hawco’s first operational mission. He has taken part in international missions, as well as domestic. 

Cpl Ronnie Kinnie, Task Force Charlottetown




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