Hobart steps up in expeditionary strike group

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), ABIS Shane Cameron (photographer), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercises, HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Hobart (D39)

File image: HMAS Hobart conducts officer of the watch manoeuvres with HMAS Toowoomba enroute to South East Asia, 2018. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
File image: HMAS Hobart conducts officer of the watch manoeuvres with HMAS Toowoomba enroute to South East Asia, 2018.

HMA Ships Hobart and Stuart have participated in a real-time, simulated exercise with American forces, with Hobart showcasing her AEGIS Combat System while assigned Air Defence Commander duties.

Fleet Synthetic Training – Joint, under the banner of Exercise PACIFIC THUNDER, is an annual certification exercise for the United States Navy’s Japan-based Task Force 76.

The five-day exercise saw Hobart protect amphibious assault ships USS Essex and USS Wasp from airborne attack.

From left, Director Fleet Force Generation Division Captain Pete Bartlett, RAN, Commodore Flotillas, Commodore Ivan Ingham, AM, RAN, Lieutenant Commander Jayson Larson, USN and Executive Officer HMAS Hobart, Lieutenant Commander Ben Weller, RAN, outside the DDG Command trainer HMAS Watson, Sydney.

From left, Director Fleet Force Generation Division Captain Pete Bartlett, RAN, Commodore Flotillas, Commodore Ivan Ingham, AM, RAN, Lieutenant Commander Jayson Larson, USN and Executive Officer HMAS Hobart, Lieutenant Commander Ben Weller, RAN, outside the DDG Command trainer HMAS Watson, Sydney.

Hobart and Stuart’s operations teams used Royal Australian Navy Bridge Simulators at HMAS Watson in New South Wales and HMAS Stirling and Western Australian respectively, joined by networked elements from the Royal Australian Air Force and United States Navy and Air Force, geographically spread from Newcastle to San Diego and Sasebo in Japan.

Hobart’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ryan Gaskin, said the synthetic exercise was vital to preparing his crew ahead of the ship’s Task Group deployment later this year, working through scenarios and achieving training outcomes that may not be achievable in a real-world training environment.

“This synthetic exercise highlights Hobart’s capability and facilitates high level campaign planning and operations, proving our interoperability with the United States Navy,” he said. 

“The combat team was outstanding in matching the tempo of the exercise, and for the first time Hobart held Air Defence Commander duties.”

“This was an exciting opportunity for us, as the AEGIS combat system and the ship’s Combat Information Centre are specifically designed for these battle functions.

“I am very proud of the team and their outstanding performance in contributing to the certification of United States Navy Commander Task Force 76.”

HMAS Hobart is the first of three air warfare destroyers built for the Royal Australian Navy and is based in Sydney while HMAS Stuart is an Anzac Class Frigate based at Fleet Base West near Rockingham.