February 22, 2020 – In a demonstration of maritime combat power, four Royal Australian Navy warships formed off Australia’s East Coast to conduct a tactical transit in the opening stages of Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20).
The formation signaled the start of the sea phase of FCP20, which is the Royal Australian Navy’s first major training exercise for the year and focuses on mid-intensity high-end warfighting.
HMA Ships Hobart (III), Stuart (III), Arunta (II) and Sirius conducted the evolution on their way to Bass Strait where they will join HMA Ships Canberra (III), Diamantina (II) and Huon (II) and Submarines Collins and Farncomb for several week of detailed maritime warfare serials that graduate in difficulty and complexity.
Commodore Flotillas (COMFLOT) Commodore Michael Harris said FCP20 was a demonstration of the Royal Australian Navy’s rapidly advancing and highly capable sea and air control capabilities.
“The successful completion of FCP20 will demonstrate Navy’s ability to project power at sea, to maintain freedom of manoeuvre and open sea lanes and protect Australia’s borders and national interests abroad,” Commodore Harris said.
“FCP20 will re-affirm that we have an adaptive and responsive maritime task group able to operate across the full spectrum of warfare from humanitarian and disaster relief through to conflict in defence of Australia and its national interests.”
This year also marks the first time an Air Warfare Destroyer has taken part in a Fleet Certification Period with HMAS Hobart providing air-defence to the Task Group while Minehunters Diamantina and Huon represent Navy’s ability to insert minor war vessels into a large-scale activity alongside major fleet units and boost overall capability.
The surface and submarine combatants are also joined by a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A aircraft, a United States Navy P-8 and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 which will test the Task Group’s readiness against airborne threats.
Commodore Harris said the participation of international partners promoted “regional stability through cooperation integration and a collective desire for a stable and peaceful region.
“FCP20 is an invaluable way for Australia, New Zealand and the United States to train together so we can fight together effectively at sea and work together to preserve maritime security and a rules-based order,” Commodore Harris said.
Involving more than 2000 military personnel, the sea phase of FCP20 will be held in the Bass Strait until 6 March with participating ships also visiting ports in Victoria and Tasmania.