The month of May saw the Royal Australian Navy engage and prove the capability to sustain multiple task groups from east to west across the Indo-Pacific, with three task groups simultaneously operating in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and South East Asia.
While the INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR maritime task group was undertaking the final legs of their IPE 19 deployment, other RAN fleet units were engaged in Exercise LA PEROUSE in the Northeast Indian Ocean and Exercise PACIFIC VANGUARD in the Pacific Ocean near Guam.
Navy’s Director General Maritime Operations, Commodore Matt Buckley, said that the simultaneous international deployment of six major surface ships and two submarines in joint and combined task groups across a wide theatre of operations was a strong demonstration of Navy’s capability to contribute to stability and security across the region.
“The three simultaneous task group activities underscore the range of scenarios that the Australian Defence Force must be prepared to contribute to in support of the Government’s commitment to a prosperous and stable Indo-Pacific,” Commodore Buckley said.
“The Maritime Task Group consisting of HMA Ships Canberra, Success and Newcastle, served as the core of the Joint IPE 19 Task Force and delivered on a broad remit of engagement and capacity building with regional partners Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
“Meanwhile to the west, HMAS Toowoomba and the submarine HMAS Collins participated in a French-led multinational exercise centred on the aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle in a combined Task Force that also included ships and aircraft from the United States Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. The Task Force exercise conducted in the Northeast Indian Ocean, demonstrated the true power of international partnerships and importance of maritime interoperability.
“Further to the east in the vicinity of Guam, HMA Ships Melbourne and Parramatta, and the submarine HMAS Farncomb participated in the US-led Exercise PACIFIC VANGUARD, together with the navies of Japan and South Korea, working through a range of complex maritime task group scenarios.”
The diversity of these activities, distributed across a wide region, demonstrates the RAN’s ability to sustain maritime task group presence in the region in support of maintaining global rules and norms.
The task groups are ready to respond if required to a range of contingencies across the region, either as part of an ADF joint task force, or as elements in a combined response with key international partners.
“It is very pleasing to see a long term Navy plan to generate and sustain multiple maritime task group deployments is being realised,” Commodore Buckley said.
“While all this was happening, Navy continued its operational contribution to maritime security in the Middle East, with HMAS Ballarat, sustained an increased maritime presence of hydrographic and patrol vessels in support of our Pacific Island partners, and maintained the ongoing commitment to the security of Australia’s domestic maritime domain.”