HMAS Bathurst exercises for war

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Phillipe Fairs (author), Unknown (Royal Navy Photographer) (photographer)

Location(s): Butterworth, Malaysia

Crew members on the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Bathurst fire a .50 cal machinegun in the South China Sea during Exercise Bersama Shield 16. (photo: UK)
Crew members on the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Bathurst fire a .50 cal machinegun in the South China Sea during Exercise Bersama Shield 16.

On a break from border protection duties, HMAS Bathurst has been participating in Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 2016 in company with HMAS Anzac, Singapore's RSS Formidable, and Malaysia's KD Lekir and KD Selangor

The exercise aims to enhance interoperability and strengthen professional relationships between the Five Power Defence Arrangements nations (Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom). 

The complex warfare environment has enabled Bathurst to exercise in a task group setting and allowed the conduct of air defence, surface and combined anti-submarine exercises, as well as close in-company manoeuvring within a multi-threat environment. 

Importantly the exercise has allowed for cultural integration, with Bathurst sailors cross-decking onto KD Lekir and KD Selangor in exchange for Malaysian personnel. 

Whilst onboard, Bathurst sailors took the opportunity to demonstrate unit specific training including damage control exercises, ship handling and manoeuvring activities, as well as live firing practices with 25mm and 12.7mm close range weapons. 

Lieutenant Commander David Shirvington, Commanding Officer Bathurst highlighted the importance of the exercise to the patrol boat community. 

“This has been a rare opportunity high intensity, complex warfare in a joint, international environment,” he said

“Importantly, it allows our sailors a break from the mission of border protection and to focus on the core unit readiness competencies of warfighting, contributing to Chief of Navy and Fleet Commander’s warfighting goals.”