Stuart leads the way for Exercise KAKADU

Published on LEUT Nicholas Robinson (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercises

Combat Systems Operator, Able Seaman Blake Norris conducts a tour onboard HMAS Stuart with Leading Seaman Ahmed Mahmood (left) and Leading Seaman Ahafeez of the Pakistan Navy during Exercise KAKADU 2014.   (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Combat Systems Operator, Able Seaman Blake Norris conducts a tour onboard HMAS Stuart with Leading Seaman Ahmed Mahmood (left) and Leading Seaman Ahafeez of the Pakistan Navy during Exercise KAKADU 2014.

On the weekend, the ship’s company of Stuart, weighed anchor to mark the start of the sea phases of Exercise KAKADU 2014.

Stuart led the ‘Red Force’ Task Group 628.2 out of  Darwin Harbour, before conducting Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres with members of the Command Task Group.

HMA Ships Arunta and Newcastle, sailed with Pakistan Navy ships PNS Nasr and PNS Saif, to join Stuart in the manoeuvres.

It was a spectacular sight, in perfect conditions and the evolution made a great start on improving the interoperability of the nations involved during the exercise.

Commander Aaron Nye, Red Force Task Group Commander and Commanding Officer of Stuart, oversaw the execution of the manoeuvres.

"This part of the week is about getting a feel for way the different coalition ships operate.

"It was wonderful to see the five ships of the Task Group operating so well together on our first day at sea. 

"We are developing a deeper understanding of the partner ships in our Task Group, so that we can build on the lessons learnt from the Harbour Phase," Commander Nye said.

Stuart is also conducting personnel transfers between the ship’s company of both Pakistan Navy Ships Saif and Nasr.

Each day of the exercise a number of sailors and officers from both the Royal Australian Navy and Pakistan Navy will cross deck.

Sub-Lieutenant Rory Lea-McLaren spent the day in a Pakistan Navy ship.

"It’s interesting to see the differences and similarities between the navies.

"I can see how they have historically had similar influences as us.”

"On the other hand we sat down for a traditional Dahl at lunchtime, which was a bit different!" Sub-Lieutenant Lea-McLaren said.

Visiting Pakistan sailors Leading Seaman Mahmood and Leading Seaman Ahafeez also had the opportunity to witness a Damage Control Exercise onboard Stuart.

The ship ran a simulated missile hit, which resulted in a fire in a main machinery space and a flood in an accommodation space.

Ship’s company responded to the event with the forward repair base tackling the fire while the aft repair base contained the flood under the direction of Damage Control Central.

As the damage control events were fought on the lower decks, the Operations Room and the Commanding Officer continued to engage in the tactical picture of the war fighting exercise.

KAKADU is the Royal Australian Navy's largest maritime warfare exercise for the year, occurring in and off the coast of Darwin, from 25 August – 12 September.