The aim of BLUE RAPTOR was to provide an Australian Defence Force presence on the North West Shelf and, in particular, to patrol the areas in which Australia’s Oil and Gas installations are present.
Sirius, Warramunga and Sydney had just completed the conduct of a Surface Combatant Navigation Course off the Whitsunday Island Group when they commenced transit to the BLUE RAPTOR exercise area.
Some careful planning by Warramunga enabled the task group to meet up with the Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) HMAS Wollongong enroute to the North West Shelf, to conduct a personnel transfer evolution and Officer of the Watch manoeuvres.
“I suspect this is the first occasion that a set of manoeuvres has been completed by four different classes of Royal Australian Navy vessels this year,” said Warramunga’s Commanding Officer, CMDR David Tietzel.
It was a rare opportunity for Wollongong to conduct an unscheduled exercise with units of different classes, not normally possible due to the high operational tempo of the ACPB fleet.
“The Phase Three trainees learned a lot and had a fantastic time, The communicators loved it, as did the remaining 27 people onboard, most of whom probably hadn’t seen a Major Fleet Unit at such close range before, let alone three,” said Lieutenant Commander Mick Miller, Commanding Officer of the ARDENT THREE crew, embarked in Wollongong.
On completion of the personnel transfer and Officer of the Watch evolutions, Wollongong set sail for Darwin, while Sirius, Warramunga and Sydney continued to patrol the North West Shelf.