Royal Australian Navy personnel from Combined Task Force 150 and HMAS Warramunga have completed their involvement in this year’s Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS 18.
CUTLASS EXPRESS is an annual exercise sponsored by US Africa Command and conducted by US Naval Forces Africa to improve maritime law enforcement capacity and promote regional security in the Western Indian Ocean.
Representing the Combined Maritime Forces, the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 deployed joint Australian and Canadian mentoring teams to the Maritime Operation Centre in Victoria, Seychelles, to assist participating nations enhance maritime security procedures and information exchange.
Commander Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Mal Wise, said CUTLASS EXPRESS involved mentoring and instruction to assess and improve regional maritime law enforcement practices and build regional capacity.
“The instruction provided by combined mentor teams in the past has shown very positive results,” Commodore Wise said.
“This approach to training allows participating nations to benefit from mentor experiences, building an enduring capability in the region.”
Commander of Australian Defence Force personnel in the Middle East, Rear Admiral Jaimie Hatcher, said Warramunga joined Combined Task Force 150 personnel in the exercise in the first week of February to mentor regional navies in maritime safety and security.
“Working alongside participating nations in this exercise demonstrates Australia’s commitment to maritime security and stability in the Middle East and Western Indian Ocean,” Rear Admiral Hatcher said.
“Ensuring we continue to foster naval partnerships will further enhance the free flow of commerce in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.”
The seventh iteration of the exercise, CUTLASS EXPRESS 18 involved warships from regional nations and included training both ashore and at sea.
Participating nations included Australia, Canada, Comoros, Denmark, Djibouti, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Netherlands, Seychelles, Somalia, Turkey, and the United States.
The Combined Maritime Forces is a coalition of 32 nations that conducts maritime security operations to ensure the free flow of legitimate commerce in the Middle East Region and to deny the use of the high seas to terrorist and illicit non-state actors.