HMAS Choules has deployed on a month long activity focused on conducting maritime and land training activities with Australia’s regional partners in the Southwest Pacific.
Choules’ deployment to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will contribute to a continuous Australian presence in the Southwest Pacific region.
The deployment is designed to enhance Australian Defence Force engagement in the region, deepen our bilateral relationships, expand our presence and assist in the building of regional partner capacity.
Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne said the activity was an early contribution to the Australian Government’s enhanced engagement with the Pacific and would continue Australia’s role in promoting the capacity of its regional partners.
“Regional security and stability remains one of the Australian Government’s highest priorities, as demonstrated by this deployment of Choules to the Southwest Pacific,” Minister Pyne said.
Choules departed Townsville with 210 officers, sailors and soldiers on board, after embarking equipment, stores and tools for delivery across the Southwest Pacific region. Throughout the deployment, elements of the Australian Defence Force Multi-Function Engagement Team (MFET) and Mobile Training Teams (MTT) will also provide community engagement and bilateral training with regional militaries and other government agencies.
Commanding Officer of Choules, Commander Scott Houlihan, said the deployments would help facilitate an enhanced program of training activities, exercises and sporting opportunities.
“This deployment builds on those strong relationships that have formed over many decades and will provide countless occasions for our Australian Defence Force personnel to engage with our regional partners and share in our experiences and lessons through training and friendships.
“The training events and community activities that are planned will provide opportunities for the Ship’s Company to interact, compete and overall contribute to both civil and military communities across the region,” Commander Houlihan said.