Close operations in Arunta

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

HMAS Arunta, USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Ashland, and HMAS Choules sail in formation during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
HMAS Arunta, USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Ashland, and HMAS Choules sail in formation during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

HMAS Arunta brought together the operations of the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy recently in a demonstration of just how closely the two nations can work together.

Arunta was part of the Expeditionary Strike Group during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE, and the Australian ship decided to test the limits of interoperability during a programmed air defence serial.

A personnel exchange program allowed members of the ships' companies from Arunta and the Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Preble to spend time embarked in platforms they had previously seen only from a distance. Acting Commanding Officer of Arunta, Lieutenant Commander Kingsley Scarce,was extremely happy with the exchange.

"In all twelve sailors from Arunta embarked in Preble for the day while Arunta hosted thirteen members from Preble," he said.

As part of the exchange, Arunta and Preble arranged for a US Navy Air Intercept Controller to embark in Arunta.

Following a crash course in the upgraded Anzac class Mk 3E combat system, the Air Intercept Controller, Petty Officer Second Class Johnson, took control of four US Navy F/A-18 aircraft from USS George Washington from Arunta’s Operations Room.

This unique arrangement involved Arunta’s Air Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Steven Christensen, working closely with Petty Officer Johnson to direct the employment of the aircraft to provide defence to the Strike Group.

"The exchange was well received by the participants and for many was a highlight of the exercise," Lieutenant Commander Scarce said.

"Having a US Navy sailor jump into our Operations Room and effectively employ carrier-based fighter aircraft in defence of the Strike Group is a major demonstration of the interoperability we were trying to achieve during the Exercise."