The Royal Australian and United States navies have proven a potent and agile force when operating together during the opening phases of Exercise TALISMAN SABER 17, which took place in the Northern Territory.
HMA Ships Ballarat, Melbourne, Broome and Bathurst conducted four days of high-end warfare exercises with USS John S. McCain off the coast of Darwin, proving their ability to detect, track and engage surface, submarine, and air targets.
Advanced air warfare serials were supported by the Royal Australian Air Force’s Classic and Super Hornets and the US Marine Corps’ F/A-18s.
The warships conducted a wide range of training exercises including Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres, Replenishment at Sea Approaches and simulating the protection of major fleet units against a hostile force, against the smaller Navy vessels in the approaches to Darwin Harbour.
Ballarat Operations Officer Lieutenant Mitchell Tavener said the exercise had gone extremely well.
“We are very familiar with working with the US and their ships and this helped us meet our objectives,” Lieutenant Tavener said.
“We are well rehearsed in operating in Australia’s northern approaches and HMAS Ballarat’s performance was as expected – always to a high standard and always meeting command aims.
“USS John S. McCain also showed herself to be a very professional and highly capable ship.”
Lieutenant Tavener said the Armidale-class patrol boats Broome and Bathurst had been a valuable addition to the exercise.
“Having the patrol boats stand in as our enemy force brought a high level of complexity to our planning and execution," he said.
“They force us to step up our operations and prove a capability we can’t achieve in any other way.”
The four days in the Northern Territory began the maritime component of Exercise TALISMAN SABER 17, the largest combined military exercise undertaken by the Australian Defence Force.
The ships will now move to the Queensland coast to take part in the main effort of TALISMAN SABER.
The main part of the exercise will include 15 warships including the Amphibious Assault Ship HMAS Canberra, numerous aircraft and clearance diving teams, including an Expeditionary Warfare Strike Group.