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NSWC Crane's New Blue Water Armorers Course to Cut Costs and Increase Fleet Readiness

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Sept. 10, 2018

September 10, 2018

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) is excited to offer the Blue Water Armorers course to Sailors and Navy civilian armorers at their Weapons System Training Facility. This new, week-long intensive course provides hands-on technical instruction on maintenance and repair of Navy small arms. 

Previously, when a fleet weapon broke or experienced a malfunction it was shipped away for repair or replacement. The Blue Water Armorers course aims to equip Sailors and civilian armorers with the skills necessary to maintain and repair their own weapons. These skills will allow small arms to remain in circulation longer, and in turn, will lower overall maintenance costs and increase the fleet’s institutional knowledge of small arms. 

“The Blue Water Armorers course will provide authorized armorer training for our Sailors, which gives them the confidence that they can perform all the necessary small arms maintenance and repairs necessary to keep their units' guns ‘in the fight,’” said Pete Gill of PMS-340 Navy Small Arms Program. 

“These skills will stay with a Sailor, whether they stay in the fleet or move to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) or Naval Special Warfare (NSW) for armorer duties; this course will also give commands flexibility as far as their armorer assignments, as this course is not military occupation specialty or billet identifier code specific.” 

The Blue Water Armorers course is taught by certified weapons instructors and will cover the following weapons:

• M9 Pistol

• M18 Pistol

• M4A1

• M203 Grenade Launcher

• M500 Shotgun

• M240 Machine Gun

• MK48 Machine Gun (SUBFOR only)

• M2HB Machine Gun Flex and MOD

• M2A1 Machine Gun  

In addition to the listed small arms, also covered in the course are special tools, gauges, technical manuals, and APL/AEL’s.  

“The course provides students the opportunity to understand the background, technical specifications, and cycle of operations of the weapons, as well as the knowledge of corrective actions for malfunctions. The students bring a positive attitude to the course because they feel they are actually able to perform their jobs,” says Joe Ryan, Small Arms Instructor. 

The course, which piloted in May 2018, is currently recruiting Sailors and Navy civilian armorers. Class sizes are limited to 24 students, keeping student to instructor ratios low, in order to maximize the learning experience.  

“This course is instrumental! I have learned things in this course that would have made a huge difference in my earlier years,” said a Gunner’s Mate First Class stationed on USS Thomas Hudner DDG-116, in Mayport, Florida. 

“This course should be required for any and all personnel aspiring to be duty armorer,” said a Gunner’s Mate Third Class stationed in San Diego. 

“[ I ] learned a lot and feel like a subject matter expert when talking about small arms,” said another Gunner’s Mate Third Class stationed in San Diego.  

Two courses are scheduled for the remainder of 2018, with an additional ten courses scheduled for 2019. In 2018, the upcoming course dates are Sept. 17-21 and Nov. 5-9. 

To enroll in the course, please contact:

 Mr. Paul M. Fisher



“The goal for this course is that at some point, this course would be certified to award a Navy Enlisted Classification, and that this course would become a pre-requisite for the NECC/NSW courses,” said Gill. “As with all training and education courses, the course will continue to evolve and change as the needs of the Fleet and Sailors dictate.”

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.