Nations gather for Indian Fleet Review

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

Location(s): Visakhapatnam

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

HMAS Darwin arrives at the Indian International Fleet Review. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
HMAS Darwin arrives at the Indian International Fleet Review.

The Royal Australian Navy is taking its place on the world stage, joining 90 vessels representing 24 countries for India’s International Fleet Review.

HMAS Darwin, commanded by Commander Phillip Henry, entered the Indian port of Visakhapatnam last week to participate in the celebration, which will finish on February 8.

Darwin's crew had expected to see an impressive array of warships anchored in formation approximately four nautical miles off the Visakhapatnam coastline and the first signs of participants gathering turned out to be the silhouettes of two Indian aircraft carriers (INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya) emerging from the haze.

As Darwin drew closer, more and more ships became visible, the true size of the formation began to reveal itself.

Darwin was expertly guided to her chosen spot by an Indian Interceptor boat and anchored in place.

The ship’s personnel ventured to the upper decks to be met with what can only be described as a spectacular sight - more than 42 warships in formation anchorage with the Viraat and Vikramaditya at the peak.

"I’ve never seen so many warships anchored in the same place at once!" Seaman Electronics Technician Clapton Fawke said.

"It takes your breath away when you see it for the first time."

The Fleet Review is an opportunity for the Indian Navy to showcase the might of their Navy, and they did not disappoint with an impressive array of military hardware on display to make up the majority of ships at anchor.

The activity is also used for building and strengthening regional partnerships.

Up to 24 countries, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK, France and Japan are expected to have warships present for the Review itself.