Aussie ship commands Surface Action Group in Exercise PACIFIC BOND

Published on LEUT Grant McDuling (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Sydney (F03)

Japanese Maritime Defence Force Murasame Class destroyer JMSDF Murasame (left) and US Navy Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Preble sail in company with HMAS Sydney (IV) as the three warships participate in officer of the watch manoeuvres in the Pacific Ocean. (photo: Leading Seaman Peter Thompson )
Japanese Maritime Defence Force Murasame Class destroyer JMSDF Murasame (left) and US Navy Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Preble sail in company with HMAS Sydney (IV) as the three warships participate in officer of the watch manoeuvres in the Pacific Ocean.

The Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney (IV) took command of a Surface Action Group during tri-lateral naval exercises in the Western Pacific Ocean off the Marianas Island chain on June 24, 2013.

According to HMAS Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Commander Karl Brinckmann, this phase of Exercise PACIFIC BOND saw two Surface Action Groups, each comprising two major warships and their embarked helicopters, pitted against each other.

“We were paired up with the US Navy destroyer USS Preble, our task being to get within range of our target and fire our missiles. The other group’s task was to locate us before we had time to fire and escort us away from the target without having the chance to fire,” CMDR Brinckmann said.

“This was an unusual exercise in that there was no merchant shipping to confuse the enemy picture, so it all came down to creativity and imagination.”

HMAS Sydney’s exchange Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Bannister, Royal Navy agrees.

“We maximised our teamwork and all the lessons we have learned so far during this deployment, using all areas of the operations and communications sub departments," LCDR Bannister said.

“Through skilled determination and superior knowledge we located the opposing group and were able to adjust our position accordingly to ensure we remained undetected for a lengthy period of time. We were also able to put them off guard when they finally did challenge us, by being belligerent in our responses.”

CMDR Brinckmann said he was extremely happy with the way his Surface Action Group performed during the exercise.

“Exercises such as this are about interacting with our allies and improving our ability to operate with one another.”

The United States Navy agrees.

“PACIFIC BOND was a resounding success,” CDR Kurt Sellerberg, Commanding Officer USS Preble, said.

“We were really able to train on and refine the strong interoperability between our partner navies through extensive manoeuvring, warfare area training and personnel exchange opportunities. The coordination in execution across multiple domains highlights our continued partnerships through the SAG vs SAG event with JS Marusame and HMAS Sydney. I look forward to operating with them in the future.”

PACIFIC BOND is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.

HMAS Sydney is currently embedded in the United States Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group that is forward-deployed at Yokosuka, Japan.