HMAS Newcastle completes operations with US Fifth Fleet

HMAS Newcastle has completed an attachment with the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf while deployed on maritime security operations in the Middle East Region (MER).

During the two-week attachment supporting the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG-11), Newcastle conducted escort operations and a range of naval manoeuvres with US Navy ships.

Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, Major General John Frewen, said Newcastle’s role directly supported the international effort to ensure a free and open global maritime trading system covering some of the world’s most important sea lines of communication.

“Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships and personnel have conducted maritime security operations in the Middle East for the past 27 years, ensuring free trade and contributing to regional stability,” Major General Frewen said.

“During this attachment Newcastle was able to provide escort and support to US vessels as part of operations to ensure free passage in the Gulf.”

Commander CSG-11, Rear Admiral Bill Byrne, USN, said Newcastle performed at a high level during the attachment.

“The officers and crew of Newcastle were true professionals and displayed a phenomenal level of competency and flexibility. It was seamless working with them, and their mastery of dynamic operations and ship maneuvers gives me great confidence,” Rear Admiral Byrne said.

“I am proud and honored to serve alongside the sailors of Newcastle and look forward to the next opportunity.”

Newcastle provided escort to several US ships and conducted naval operations including patrols and replenishment at sea with US ships during the attachment.

Newcastle also conducted integrated flying serials with her embarked MH-60R helicopter and Scaneagle Unmanned Aerial System for the first time on Australian operations.

Newcastle is deployed on Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the MER.

Newcastle’s deployment is the 65th rotation of a RAN ship in the Middle East since 1990.