The multi-national maritime task group, consisting of more than 17 ships and aircraft, is encountering fictitious threats from the air, on the surface and underwater to train personnel with skills they need in battle.
Amphibious giant, HMAS Adelaide is the Command and Control platform and is the floating office for the Officer Conducting the Exercise and Commander of the Task Group, Commodore Mal Wise.
He said that the exercise was an opportunity to take the Australian Fleet’s training to a new level as the Royal Australian Navy shifts from a fleet optimised for single-ship operations to one capable of task group operations.
“We need to appreciate that the task group is greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.
Within the first week of the exercise, dubbed OCEAN EXPLORER, participating ships primed for battlespace dominance and conducted anti-submarine, surface warfare and weapons firing exercises.
Living the motto of ‘United We Stand’, Commanding Officer of Australian helicopter frigate, HMAS Anzac, Commander Michael Devine said that his ship was using the exercise as an opportunity to strengthen international partnerships.
"The concentration of ships, submarines and aircraft has been crucial,” Commander Devine said.
“Operating with multiple ships from different nations has allowed Anzac to demonstrate her ability to conduct the full range of high-end war-fighting activities in a realistic operational construct,” he said.
Commanding Officer of guided missile frigate, HMAS Darwin, Commander Phillip Henry said that Darwin had been using the first phase to integrate into the task group.
“Darwin has been working with many other Royal Australian Navy and international fleet units to better understand and adapt to the complexities of operating as a combined, coordinated and effective task force capable of accomplishing the full spectrum of maritime security operations,” he said.
“So far, Darwin has already played her part in anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface actions utilising air, surface and sub-surface assets to detect and neutralise any threats to the force.
"At the same time the crew is getting invaluable training in high complexity, hi-tempo task group operations.
“Previously unforseen challenges are being seized as opportunities for the crew to propose and attempt innovative ways to increase the efficiencies and effectiveness of Darwin, and the group as a whole.
“OCEAN EXPLORER to date has proven to be invaluable in ensuring the Navy is able to utilise the force-multiplying effects of operating in a task group with our allies to deal with any potential future threats,” he said.
'Battle Tanker’ HMAS Success has ensured Australian warships were able to remain on task by providing over 1.5 million litres of diesel fuel to HMA Ships Adelaide, Anzac, Darwin and Parramatta.
The tanker's embarked MRH90 helicopter ‘Poseidon 18’ from 808 Squadron in Nowra have offered the ship an organic aviation capability.
Flight Commander Lieutenant Commander Dominic Cooper said that it has enabled Success to complete an aviation sea safety assessment and was subsequently awarded authority to operate by day and night.
“I am looking forward to growing this capability for Success throughout OCEAN EXPLORER and beyond,” Lieutenant Commander Cooper said.
The exercise is being conducted at sea and in coastal areas north of Perth in the vicinity of Lancelin, Geraldton and as far south as Geographe Bay until 10 March.