Warfare exercise certifies Task Group for year ahead

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer), ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Topic(s): Fleet Certification Period

An 816 Squadron MH-60 Romeo helicopter lands onboard HMAS Canberra for Fleet Certification Period 2020. (photo: ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill)
An 816 Squadron MH-60 Romeo helicopter lands onboard HMAS Canberra for Fleet Certification Period 2020.

Navy’s first major exercise of the year has come to a successful conclusion.

Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20) focused on mid-intensity, high-end warfighting, and tested platforms and personnel through almost three weeks of detailed maritime warfare serials that graduated in difficulty as the exercise progressed.

Commodore Flotillas Commodore Michael Harris said the successful completion of FCP20 proved that Navy is ready to deploy in whatever capacity required of it from Government.

“The exercise continues Navy’s shift from predominantly single ship operations over the past few decades to a complex and dynamic warfighting capability based around the Fleet’s amphibious ships, in this case HMAS Canberra,” Commodore Harris said.

“The successful completion of FCP20 proves Navy is advancing its ability to develop self-supported and sustainable maritime task groups that are capable of accomplishing the full range of maritime security operations.”

Essentially, FCP20 involved a number of war-gaming scenarios that tested units in a range of maritime warfare serials such as anti-submarine and air warfare situations.

This year also marked the first time an Air Warfare Destroyer has taken part in a Fleet Certification Period with HMAS Hobart providing air-defence for the Task Group.

The sea phase of FCP20 took place off the coasts of Victoria and Tasmania, and included a number of weekend port visits where ships undertook various community engagement activities.

HMAS Canberra also participated in a simulated mass evacuation exercise to focus and build on “lessons learned” during the recent Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST.

The activity saw approximately 450 role-playing “evacuees” transported from HMAS Cerberus to the Port of Melbourne.

As well as HMAS Canberra and HMAS Hobart, this year’s Fleet Certification Period involved HMA Ships Stuart, Arunta, Sirius, Diamantina and Huon, and HMA Submarines Collins and Farncomb - FCP20 also involved Clearance Dive Team One.

A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A aircraft, a United States Navy P-8 and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 also took part in FCP20.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20200863
and https://images.navy.gov.au/S20200937.