The Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN’s) Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast with an embarked Seahawk naval helicopter is participating in the multilateral Exercise Kakadu. Hosted by the Royal Australian Navy, the biennial exercise is being held in the Northern Australian Exercise Area off the coast of Darwin, Australia from 12 to 24 September 2022. This year’s exercise is the largest in the series thus far, with 15 ships, one submarine, more than 30 aircraft and around 3,000 personnel from 26 countries taking part. The participating countries include Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vanuatu.
A Fleet Commanders’ Conference was held in conjunction with the exercise. During the conference, RSN Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Sean Wat underscored the importance of such platforms in bringing together commanders to exchange views on operating in an increasingly complex security environment, and on strengthening practical cooperation. He said, “As regional navies seek to put COVID-19 behind us, this timely opportunity to reconnect at multiple levels is invaluable, and will pave the way to strengthen partnership and build capabilities.”
During the ten-day sea phase, the participating navies conducted complex multi-dimensional naval warfare trainings against air, sea surface and underwater threats. Notably, RSS Steadfast took on the role of Surface Warfare Commander in a search and destroy mission. The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-15SG and F-16D+ fighter jets and an A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft also took part in the exercise.
This year’s Exercise Kakadu is the 15th in the series. The exercise provides an invaluable opportunity for navies in the region to strengthen interoperability and promote mutual trust. Exercise Kakadu also underscores the good working relationship and professional cooperation among the participating navies.