Regional partners exercise in Bay of Bengal

Published on LCDR Jason O'Gorman (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (author)

Location(s): Bay of Bengal

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04), International Fleet Review

HMAS Darwin exercises with International Warships Kri Usman Harun (Indonesia), KD Lekir (Malaysia) en route to the International Fleet Review. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
HMAS Darwin exercises with International Warships Kri Usman Harun (Indonesia), KD Lekir (Malaysia) en route to the International Fleet Review.

The Royal Australian Navy has prepared for its role in the 2016 International Fleet Review (IFR) with HMAS Darwin sailing in company in the Bay of Bengal.

The International Fleet Review, hosted by the Indian Navy, begins today. It is expected 24 warships will represent participating countries, and 25 foreign naval chiefs will visit India for the IFR.

The Fleet Review provides an opportunity for Navies from around the world to build trust and confidence with their maritime neighbours and partners.

This event allows the host nation to display its maritime capabilities and the relationships it has built with other maritime nations.

Darwin, under Command of Commander Phillip Henry, sailed in company with Indonesian Navy Ship Kri Usman Harun and Malaysian Navy Ship KD Lekir in preparation for the event.

Each ship has been selected to represent their respective country’s Navies at the IFR.

Darwin's passage to the IFR in company presented significant opportunities for manoeuvring and communication exercises, and the chance to better understand how each Navy does business.

Passage activities included the conduct of replenishment approach manoeuvres with Darwin acting as the guide, and cross-decking of personnel between Kri Usman Harun and Darwin.

Darwin’s navigator Lieutenant Scott Benstead said the occasion provided rare opportunities for cooperation.

"It was a pleasure to be on the bridge today," Lieutenant Benstead said.

"The professionalism of the Indonesian and Malaysian crews was on display and they didn’t disappoint."

Personnel from Darwin will participate in a number of events at the IFR including the Opening Ceremony, a visit to the Maritime Museum and IFR village and participation in the massed Fleet Review itself.

Darwin will also host the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, for an afternoon during the IFR.

A few lucky Darwin personnel will also participate in tours provided by the Indian defence forces with destinations such as New Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Bodh Gaya.

Darwin is currently transiting via South East Asia to the Middle East (Operation MANITOU) as part of the 62nd rotation of Royal Australian Navy units to the region since 1990. This will be Darwin’s seventh deployment to the Middle East.