Anti Submarine Warfare at Exercise KAKADU 2016

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Nicholas Robinson (author), SGT Shane Gidall (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Air Combat Officer, Flying Officer Kerri Bartsch from No 10 Squadron AP-3C Orion Crew No 3 works at her sensor station during an Anti Submarine Warfare mission on Exercise Kakadu 2016. (photo: SGT Shane Gidall)
Air Combat Officer, Flying Officer Kerri Bartsch from No 10 Squadron AP-3C Orion Crew No 3 works at her sensor station during an Anti Submarine Warfare mission on Exercise Kakadu 2016.

P-3C Orion aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Pakistan Navy are exercising their anti-submarine warfare capabilities with the Royal Australian Navy as they participate in Exercise KAKADU 2016.

The hunt is on for Australian Collins class submarines who are also demonstrating their skills in the northern waters of Australia.

Flying Officer Kerri Bartsch, Tactical Coordinator onboard one of Australia’s AP-3Cs, has been tasked to locate and prosecute the submarines, within the exercise environment.

“Submarines are hard to locate under any circumstance, but it can be particularly difficult if they actively don’t want to be found,” she said.

“For training in exercises though, we plan many of these activities so that we do get contact.

“The submarine can exercise its evasion manoeuvres and we can practice our tracking and attacking,” Flying Officer Bartsch said.

The Commanding Officer of submarine, HMAS Sheean, Commander Jason Cupples, discussed the challenges an Orion can present for a submarine and the training benefits that KAKADU can provide.

“In terms of detection the P-3Cs will be carrying both active and passive sonobuoys and once they localise us, they will potentially be able to drop simulated air launch torpedos on our position,” he said.

“We will be trying very hard within the constraints of the exercise to maximise the training opportunities for ourselves, but also to provide the training opportunities for the surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft to detect and track our submarines as well.

“There are a lot of mutual benefits for both submarines and aircraft in this type of exercise,” Commander Cupples said.  
KAKADU is the Australia’s largest international maritime exercise.

The aim of KAKADU is to develop interoperability with Australia’s regional partners and enhance the maritime capability of all participating nations.