A hungry Sydney replenishes following a victorious sea war

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

Location(s): Darwin

Topic(s): Exercises

Pakistan Navy ship PNS Nasr conducts a replenishment at sea (RAS) with HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) during Exercise KAKADU 2014.  (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Pakistan Navy ship PNS Nasr conducts a replenishment at sea (RAS) with HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) during Exercise KAKADU 2014.

An overnight battle at sea with the fictional ‘Redland’ fleet during Exercise KAKADU 2014 saw victory by the ‘Blueland’ forces.

During the battle, the Blueland fleet of HMAS Sydney and JS Hatakaze, supported by a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP3C Orion and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) S-70-B Seahawk helicopter engaged the Redland fleet of HMAS Stuart, HMAS Arunta, PNS Saif and their unseen submarine.

As a result of the battle, the threat from the Redland fleet was eliminated, and their replenishment ship, PNS Nasr, was captured as a fictional ‘spoil of war’.

Blue Force (Task Group 628.1) Commander and Commanding Officer of Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann, described the concerted effort required to achieve the victory.

"The presence of the AP3C Orion was a game changer, with its detection and strike capabilities being critical to the outcome.

"Alongside interoperability with coalition partners, tight coordination between the naval and air assets, in this scenario, was a major capability multiplier," Commander Brinckmann said.

Fighting and winning at sea creates an appetite for the ship and her crew, and the battle with the fictional forces meant that Sydney needed to top up its fuel supplies, and took the opportunity to conduct a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with Nasr.

Sydney’s ‘Tanky’, Able Seaman Rogelio Smith, described the complex nature of refuelling at sea.

"A RAS is a double ‘whole ship evolution,’ requiring all the parts of two ships to work together to safely refuel.

"Both ships have to manoeuver together for an extended period while fuel is being transferred between them.

"Being able to conduct a RAS means we can stay at sea longer, doing the job we were given, and it’s pretty cool to be able to conduct a RAS with ships from other navies, like today’s RAS with the Pakistani ship Nasr," Able Seaman Smith said.

Equally vital in keeping the fighting force fuelled is ensuring that the ship’s company receive ample, healthy nourishment, something that is top of mind for Sydney’s Galley Manager, Leading Seaman Adam Wallis.

"During Exercise KAKADU we had between 230 and 250 people aboard at different stages on a ship that normally has around 190 crew.

"To accommodate the extra people the tempo was a lot higher than normal.

"The whole team worked well together, and everyone seemed to appreciate the quality and variety of meals provided," Leading Seaman Wallis said.

Exercise KAKADU 2014 is Australia’s largest naval warfare exercise of 2014, with eight ships, 26 aircraft and over 1,200 military members from 15 countries participating.