Training with partners, traversing vital shipping routes and visiting regional ports have all been part of HMAS Arunta’s latest regional presence deployment.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta Commander Samuel Woolrych salutes as Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu sails past. Story by Lieutenant Commander Andrew Herring. Photo by Leading Seaman Sittichai Sakonpoonpol.
This is the Navy’s first regional presence deployment this year and it began late last month.
It has allowed Arunta’s crew to keep their skills sharp through training and provided opportunities for them to operate alongside allies and regional partners, including the United States Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy, while traversing regional shipping lanes.
A brief port visit provided an opportunity for a resupply and rest for the crew before the ship returned to the high seas to head for the deployment’s main activity, the Indian-led multilateral Exercise Milan 2022.
Commanding Officer Arunta Commander Sam Woolrych said he was pleased with how the deployment had gone so far.
“Being out here on regional deployments is an important part of demonstrating Australia’s enduring commitment to working with partners to maintain a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Commander Woolrych said.
“We learn so much from operating with other navies across the region, and they enable us to better understand the challenges in the region.
“The team in Arunta is looking forward to continuing this and hoping to make some new friends in the days ahead as we participate in Exercise Milan.”
Exercise Milan is being conducted from late February until early March in the Indian port of Vishakhapatnam and in the Bay of Bengal.
The Indian-led biennial exercise brings together ships and personnel from 16 Indo-Pacific region navies to enhance professional interaction and provide experience operating at sea in a large multilateral force.
The 2022 theme is Comraderie, cohesion and collaboration.
The first regional presence deployment by the Royal Australian Navy this year follows four similar deployments last year.
The deployment is part of the ADF’s robust and longstanding program of international engagements, and demonstrates Australia’s commitment to working with regional partners to address shared challenges, including the region’s maritime security.