Exercise KAKADU has commenced in Australian style with an indigenous smoking ceremony onboard the Royal Australian Navy flagship HMAS Canberra.
KAKADU 2018 is a biannual joint exercise taking place both ashore and at sea off the coast of Darwin. This year’s exercise involves 27 nations and more than 3000 personnel which represents the largest military commitment to the exercise since it began in 1993.
Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead says the level of commitment by participating nations is significant, highlighting Australia’s role as a strategic regional security partner.
“Having 27 countries from such a wide spectrum involved in Exercise KAKADU is a fantastic opportunity for us all to be able to understand each other’s abilities, and to be able to develop the confidence to work together effectively,” he said.
“Some countries have been participating since the first KAKADU while others are here for the first time which shows that the Royal Australian Navy is clearly a partner of choice to operate with.”
Exercise KAKADU is split into three sections; a harbour phase, a Force Integration Training (FIT) phase and finally a free-play phase. While the harbour phase allows participants to plan and establish the confidence required to effectively work together, the sea phases allow those plans to be put into action in a realistic maritime environment.
Admiral Mead says the most obvious advantage of exercises such as KAKADU is the benefit of participating nations being able to work together in times of need.
“Many things happen in our region that we have a collective interest in,” he said.
“We are frequently beset by natural disasters that can affect all of us, and this exercise gives us the basis to be able to work together for the benefit of the region.
Admiral Mead said Darwin was an obvious choice when it came to deciding where such an exercise was held.
“Darwin is closer to five regional capital cities than it is to Canberra so I think it makes a lot of sense to hold such a large maritime exercise in this area,” he said.
Exercise KAKADU runs until mid-September.