February 27, 2017 – More than 17 ships and aircraft are descending on the Western Australian coast for one of the largest maritime warfare exercises held by the Royal Australian Navy.
The inaugural Exercise Ocean Explorer will include international participants, adding the opportunity to practice war fighting with language, customs and technology differences. SPS Cristobal Colon, New Zealand’s HMNZS Te Kaha and Endeavour and, for a brief period, Italian frigate ITS Caribiniere will all integrate into the Australian scenarios.
Exercise Director, Captain Jim Hutton said the activity aimed to train ships to work together in a series of complex and dynamic warfare scenarios.
“With the recent acquisition of larger ships, we are transitioning from a fleet optimized for single-ship operations to a new era of joint task group level expeditionary warfare,” he said.
“The aim of the exercise is to develop our task group capability, to operate a number of ships under one commander and focus primarily on sea control operations.
“This can include the full spectrum of maritime security operations including diplomacy and international engagement, humanitarian, disaster relief, constabulary, peacekeeping operations, and high end war fighting.”
The Royal Australian Air Force will also participate in scenarios, as will Defence elements based on Australia’s east coast. Units ashore in a number of locations will integrate into the exercise to add complexity and reality. A two week sea phase will incorporate anti-submarine and air defense exercises.
Between 27 February and10 March, military activities will be conducted at sea and in coastal areas north of Perth near Lancelin, Geraldton and as far south as Geographe Bay.
The exercise includes the first visit to Western Australia by the amphibious ship, HMAS Adelaide which will be berthed at Fremantle Port until 27 February but will not be open to the public.