Following the successful conclusion of Exercise Rim of the Pacific, the Australian Defence Force has resumed its major maritime activity, Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE18).
Continuing the effort to deepen Australia’s defence engagement and security partnerships in the south west Pacific, HMA Ships Adelaide and Toowoomba – along with a platoon of Australian soldiers from 2RAR (2nd Battalion Royal Australia Regiment) – and US Marines are on their way to the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara. Replenishment ship HMAS Success will visit Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.
The commanding officers of the ships and embarked forces, along with IPE Task Group Commander, Captain Jim Hutton, met prior to departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a final briefing before setting sail.
Captain Hutton said he was focussed on strengthening Australia’s security partnerships with the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
“These visits allow a valuable opportunity for us to work and engage with some of our closest neighbours; to learn from each other and to foster greater understanding and interoperability between our defence forces and security personnel,” he said.
“We will be conducting a range of training activities designed to build capacity.”
The three ships have recently spent five prosperous weeks taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise hosted by the US Pacific Fleet.
HMAS Adelaide’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jonathan Earley, said RIMPAC had once again proven to be a valuable experience for all ADF participants at sea, ashore and in the air.
“Australia is one of the three founding nations of this biennial exercise and we have participated in every iteration since its inception in 1971,” he said.
“It provides a unique opportunity for us to hone our skills while demonstrating our capability and versatility across a variety of maritime tasks alongside partner nations.
“For RIMPAC 18, Australia was well represented and clearly demonstrated its ability and capacity as a strong, professional and effective maritime force,” he said.
The ship’s companies and embarked forces onboard our ships are continuing to prepare for the upcoming Southwest Pacific visits with a series of exercises scheduled during the passage from Hawaii, beginning with flight operations involving US Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft shortly after departing Pearl Harbor.
Adelaide, Toowoomba and Success will arrive in Honiara and Rabaul respectively in mid-August.