Ships ‘foxtrot’ in the South China Sea

HMA Ships Hobart and Stalwart are in the Philippines after completing a trilateral transit of the South China Sea.

CAPTION: HMA Ships Hobart and Stalwart, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Ship Kirisame and US Navy Ship Milius in the South China Sea. Story by Lieutenant Brendan Trembath. Photo by Leading Seaman Daniel Goodman.

The Royal Australian Navy ships sailed in a task group with United States Ship Milius and Japanese Ship Kirisame.

Hobart Navigating Officer Lieutenant Dean Gilbert said the transit was constructive.

“It was another great opportunity while deployed on Regional Presence Deployment 22-4 to engage with key partners and enhance our interoperability in the Indo-Pacific,” Lieutenant Gilbert said.

“I have enjoyed facing these challenges and developing the bridge team into an effective and highly functioning component of Hobart to ensure the safe execution of the navigation plan.”

During the transit, task group personnel conducted activities designed to increase interoperability and communications between the three partners and promote an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.

The activities, which included replenishment-at-sea operations, combined warfare and formation training and a photo exercise, culminated in a manoeuvre known as ‘formation foxtrot’.

During this manoeuvre, all the task group ships reverse the order of ships in column. Starting from the back, each ship pulls out to port (left) or starboard (right) as directed and speeds up to pass the lead ship.

Able Seaman boatswain’s mate Hayley Redman was at the helm of the 7000-tonne guided missile destroyer Hobart as the ships lined up and separated.

“It was very rewarding because I was able to experience something many others don’t,” Able Seaman Redman said.

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CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy Headquarters Chief of Staff Commodore Ray Leggatt addresses the Exercise Sama Sama Lumbas opening ceremony in Cebu, Philippines. Photo by Leading Seaman Daniel Goodman.

Hobart and Stalwart are part of a regional presence deployment throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“It is important as it builds relationships with our regional partners,” Able Seaman Redman said.

The two ships sailed into Cebu on a clear and sunny morning to participate in Exercise Sama Sama-Lumbas, a navy-to-navy exercise between the Philippines Navy, US Seventh Fleet and US Indo-Pacific Command, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Navy.





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