Seven Australian warships sailed in the past week from Navy bases on both sides of the country to undertake a range of training activities to test newly upgraded systems and exercise as part of a maritime task group.
CAPTION: HMAS Stuart leads HMA Ships Hobart and Canberra out of Sydney Harbour as they depart Fleet Base East for a period of force integrated training. Photo by Able Seaman Benjamin Ricketts. Story by Lieutenant Ryan Zerbe.
HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart and Stuart departed Fleet Base East in Sydney, while HMA Ships Anzac, Arunta, Ballarat and Sirius sailed from Fleet Base West in Western Australia.
Anzac will undertake sea qualification trials following her recent mid-life upgrade and Ballarat will sail to the east coast for unit readiness training, while the remaining ships will sail in company for a period of force-integrated training, essential for maritime task-group operations.
This training period will take place off Australia’s east coast and in northern waters.
Commander Surface Force Commodore Stephen Hughes said the warships were heading to sea for training that would enable them to test their systems, conduct mariner and warfare training in areas such as ship handling, damage control, emergency drills and task-group warfare.
“This year has tested us in ways we would not have expected 12 months ago, but, by putting multiple warships and more than 1300 Navy people to sea from both sides of the country we are demonstrating we’re seaworthy, adaptive and operationally ready,” Commodore Hughes said.
“Some of these warships will deploy as a task group for Exercise Rimpac 2020 off Hawaii, incorporating high-end tactical exercises and working with partner nations.
“Anzac’s sailing is an important milestone, as the newly upgraded frigate completes her successful integration of new systems and capabilities as part of a scheduled trials period.”
Acting Commanding Officer of HMAS Ballarat Lieutenant Commander Michael Forsythe said the ship’s company was looking forward to returning to sea for high-end training and work-ups.
“We’ve spent the year so far in the west conducting mariner skills evaluations and sea qualification trials, so to sail out for some even-more-complex training to test us is welcome,” Lieutenant Commander Forsythe said.
“Getting back to sea for longer periods, putting Ballarat through her paces and continuously refining our training is the best way for us to stay ready to fight and win at sea.”