HMAS Parramatta has joined French Navy Marine Nationale vessels FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf — operating as the Jeanne d’Arc Task Group — to complete a cooperative passage through the South China Sea.
CAPTION: A French Navy helicopter from FS Tonnerre approaches HMAS Parramatta as the two ships sail together in the South China Sea. Story and photo by Leading Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill.
The Sydney-based Anzac class frigate had recently completed the Japan-led Exercise Arc21 with Tonnerre and Surcouf also taking part.
The three ships conducted a range of training activities, including communication exercises, replenishment-at-sea approaches, maritime manoeuvers and joint-flying serials using Parramatta’s MH-60R and Tonnerre’s Panther helicopters.
Commanding Officer Parramatta Commander Anita Nemarich said the ship’s time sailing in-company was another great opportunity to practice core skills and maintain a commitment to both nations’ shared values, goals and security interests.
“The Royal Australian Navy and the French Marine Nationale have enjoyed multiple opportunities to work together in the region recently,” Commander Nemarich said.
“It is great to be able to continue on the tremendous work of HMA Ships Anzac and Sirius who worked with the Jeanne d’Arc Task Group recently during Exercise La Perouse building our interoperability as like-minded nations.”
Commander of the Jeanne D’Arc Task Group and Commanding Officer Tonnerre Captain Arnaud Tranchant also found value in both navies working together.
“Operating in-company with the Australian Navy, with whom we share the same commitment to freedom of navigation, means reinforcing our ties and our capability to operate together with the same purpose,” Captain Tranchant said.
“It is also a great occasion for our naval cadets to be working with a partner Navy they will very likely encounter again in their future postings.”
Parramatta is on a two-month deployment to South-East and north-east Asia. Operating as a task group with HMAS Ballarat, the two vessels are conducting a number of navy-to-navy engagements with partner nations across the region.