Exercise ANZAC 13 highlights training collaboration

Published on LEUT Kelli Lunt (author), ABIS Jesse Rhynard (photographer)

Topic(s): Sea Training Group

Fleet Anti Submarine Warfare Assistant, Warrant Officer Greg Dennis of The Royal Australian Navy Sea Training Group overlooks a 5-inch gun firing exercise from inside HMNZS Te Mana's Operations Room. (photo: ABIS Jesse Rhynard)
Fleet Anti Submarine Warfare Assistant, Warrant Officer Greg Dennis of The Royal Australian Navy Sea Training Group overlooks a 5-inch gun firing exercise from inside HMNZS Te Mana's Operations Room.

Reinvigoration of collaborative at-sea training as part of Exercise ANZAC 2013 is underway with HMNZS Te Mana conducting a Unit Readiness Work Up with an integrated Australian and New Zealand assessment team.

Sea Training Unit – Major Fleet Units (STU-MFU) personnel embarked Te Mana to conduct a Force Integration Training phase of her work up with about 20 of their RNZN equivalent, Maritime Operational Evaluation Team (MOET). This was followed by a Work Up Progress Evaluation on 29 August in company with HMAS Tobruk, providing protection to amphibious operations occurring inside Jervis Bay.

Te Mana will be joined by HMAS Stuart for a reciprocal combined team to progress her toward Unit Readiness, as part of the ANZAC Collective Training Cooperation Initiative. Whilst Tobruk’s work up was not a formal element of Exercise ANZAC 13, the concurrent activities formed an excellent opportunity for STU–MFU and MOET to combine forces and establish a ‘superteam’.

Commander Jonathon Ley, Commander Sea Training–MFU said that both the common Anzac Class platform and the concurrent nature of Te Mana and Stuart’s work ups provided an ideal opportunity to host the RNZN in the Eastern Australian Exercise Areas and trial the concept.

“While there are some differences in the operating procedures, Exercise ANZAC 13 aims to establish the depth and breadth of similarities between the two navies and formalise collaborative training processes for implementation in future,” CMDR Ley said.

“Working with the Royal New Zealand Navy is a good fit - we have common and shared values, we’re geographically close and our military traditions, ethos and antipodean spirit are similar. Our Navies operate together further afield such as the Middle East so training together makes it easier to integrate off station.”

CMDR Ley said the opportunity to work with a neighbouring Navy with so much in common not only makes sense but provides a key opportunity for our ships to be exposed to operating in company.

“Operational tempo and scheduling can make it difficult to have other ships available to support a ship conducting workups and evaluations but task group operations are very much a part of future Naval operations.

“It remains a Sea Training Group aspiration that every unit will have a consort and operate in company during the training period. The Task Group concept is something that everyone’s got to be in step with. Ships need to get used to working in company as the concept of Task Group operations approaches in line with our future capabilities.”

Partnered training between the two Navies has been reduced to minimal levels in recent years due to operational commitments and emerging capabilities, but was revived following talks between Commodore Training CDRE Michael Noonan, RAN and the RNZN Maritime Component Commander, Commodore John Martin, RNZN in February this year.

A working group was established to identify mutually beneficial training opportunities and over the period 12-16 August personnel met at Training Force Headquarters to finalise a combined training program that achieved all requirements.

Commander Keith Robb, RNZN, Commander MOET, and working alongside Commander STU–MFU, said there were benefits to both Navies in working together over the six week period. Both groups will observe each others procedures, integrate and value add across the full spectrum of areas.

“After a hiatus of many years where we haven’t had the level of engagement we have enjoyed in the past including training, both nations are keen to reengage and reinvigorate.

“Both Navies have resourcing issues, be it personnel or assets, so there is a real advantage in pooling resources to maximise the effect and allow more flexibility. The working group meeting enabled us to brief each other on our organisations, our philosophies and operating procedures.  It reconfirmed we’re not that diverse.

“We’ll observe each others ways across all disciplines and departments and over the course of the training period we’ll become more integrated.”

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131279.

HMNZS Te Mana anchored in Jervis Bay, NSW.

HMNZS Te Mana anchored in Jervis Bay, NSW.