The largest fleet training activity for 2018, Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER has come to a successful close in Jervis Bay this week.
In keeping with tradition, the exercise concluded with a tri-nation sports day on the grounds at HMAS Creswell on Sunday, following a spectacular fleet arrival of ten ships and embarked aircraft.
Task Group Commander, Captain Paul O’Grady said the three-week activity resulted in multiple ships and aircraft forged into a highly effective and cooperative warfighting team.
“Most importantly it has seen more than 2,000 men and women from three different navies come together and work together at sea,” he said.
The second iteration of OCEAN EXPLORER featured a complex web of maritime warfare training, trials and exercises, including the Nulka anti-ship missile defence system upgrade trials and unit readiness workup training for HMA Ships Success and Farncomb and Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship Te Mana.
For the first time, the exercise featured amphibious operations by HMAS Canberra in Bass Strait and off the north coast of Tasmania including the landing of the Amphibious Beach Element in the vicinity of Stony Head, near Launceston.
“We’ve tested competencies from the lower end such as unit level firefighting and man overboard recovery, through to high-end warfighting skills such as amphibious operations, hunting submarines and anti-ship missile defence,” Captain O’Grady said.
“We’ve also certified the task group command staff to plan, synchronise and execute operations at sea, bringing a task group of ten ships together to be an effective warfighting team.
“One of the highlights of OCEAN EXPLORER has been the number of assets and platforms available.
“Multiple ships from three different navies have been able to exercise against a live submarine which provides invaluable training and a really great investment in our preparedness.”
Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor Nikki Davies said effective communications had been crucial to the play of the exercise.
“We’ve been tested in communications with quite a few ships including from the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy,” she said.
“It’s been an excellent challenge to achieve tactical communications with the ships in the task group, working with their navigators and officers of the watch to bring them seamlessly together.”
“Watching the ships manoeuvre so tightly has been pretty cool!”
Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER included the participation of Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland during her visit to Australia, as well as HMA Ships Canberra and Sirius; frigates HMA Ships Melbourne, Newcastle, Anzac, Stuart, and Paramatta; minehunter HMAS Huon and submarines HMA Ships Waller and Farncomb.