Exercise KAKADU sea phase kicks off with Action Stations

Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), LSIS Paul McCallum (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin

Topic(s): Exercises

Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Josh Little shows Commander Larry Cesista of the Philippine Navy, his console during warfare exercises for Exercise KAKADU 2014.  (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Josh Little shows Commander Larry Cesista of the Philippine Navy, his console during warfare exercises for Exercise KAKADU 2014.

At 0900 hours on Sunday 31 August, HMAS Sydney took the lead of 'Blue Force' Task Group 628.1, consisting of JS Hatakaze from Japan and BRP Ramon Alcaraz from the Philippines, sailing in formation from Darwin Harbour to kick off the sea phases of Exercise KAKADU 2014.

Exercise KAKADU is focused on developing high-end naval warfighting skills, and so day one of the exercise started with the Task Group going straight to Action Stations for a series of gunnery, air defence, damage control and flying exercises.

Taking charge of Task Group 628.1, Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Commander Karl Brinckmann, welcomed the opportunity to work with the Japanese destroyer and the Philippine frigate for the exercise.

“Exercise KAKADU is an opportunity for Australia and the coalition participants to develop the ability to interoperate in the maritime warfare environment.

“Australian warships regularly operate in combined operations with coalition partners, such as anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the Persian Gulf, so when honing warfare skills it makes total sense to do so with our regional and international partners.

“I think Aristotle summed it up centuries ago when he stated that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and this is pertinent to the capabilities that all of the nations bring to this Exercise,” Commander Brinckmann said.

The first warfare exercises of the day consisted of gunnery exercises using a variety of weapons, including Sydney’s 50 calibre machine guns, Hatakaze’s five-inch gun and Ramon Alcaraz’s 76mm gun.

Air warfare exercises focused on identifying, tracking and engaging F/A-18 Super Hornets and Hawk 127 fighter jets from the Royal Australian Air Force.

Sydney’s Directions Officer, Lieutenant Commander Marc Beecroft, welcomed the opportunity to undertake air defence exercises.

“Air defence exercises with live aircraft trying to break through our layered defences test the entire ship’s capabilities, from the Operations Room to the Weapons Electrical Engineering and gunnery personnel.

“Working as a Task Group with the Philippine and Japanese warships allowed us to respond to threats with a greater variety of measures, but also placed a greater onus on us to protect the entire task group,” Lieutenant Commander Beecroft said.

Along with Task Group units Hatakaze and Ramon Alcaraz, Sydney is also hosting 12 international officers from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.