HMAS Newcastle home from Middle East deployment

HMAS Newcastle returned to her home port of Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney following a six month deployment to the Middle East region.

CAPTIONHMAS Newcastle’ sailors wave to families as she pulls alongside Garden Island, Sydney after returning home from the Middle East Region. Photo (and caption) by Able Seaman Craig Walton.

The deployment, under Operation Manitou, was the ship’s sixth and final deployment to the region.

Operation Manitou is the Australian Government’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne welcomed the ship and her 230-member crew home from the deployment, which included counter-terrorism and counter-piracy patrols as part of the Combined Maritime Forces and a two-week attachment with the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf.

Minister Payne said Newcastle’s company had continued Australia’s reputation for professionalism and cooperation with international partners.

“Newcastle has maintained Australia’s high standing in the Combined Maritime Forces, proving our ongoing commitment to the security of the Middle East region,” Minister Payne said.

“The Royal Australian Navy has again proven a potent and capable asset in the fight against terrorist operations and the illegal activities that fund them.

“This deployment included the first simultaneous operation of manned and unmanned aircraft in Operation Manitou, with Newcastle’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System employed on a concurrent surface search tasking in the Gulf of Oman.

“The cooperative employment of both aviation platforms provided a strong deterrence against illegal activity.”

The arrival home of the Newcastle signified the last deployment of an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate to the region, with future rotations to be fulfilled by upgraded Anzac-class helicopter frigates.

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Brian Hartigan

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