Following a successful North East Asian Deployment, HMAS Sirius has arrived back on the Australian Station - ready to participate in Fleet Concentration Period East (FCP-E) and Warfare Assessment Week (WAW) in the East Australian Exercise Area (EAXA).
Twelve Royal Australian Navy units will take part in the exercise which is also supported by RAAF and Army assets. A key focus will be exercising sea control in a contested maritime battle space. This will include controlling the air, surface, and sub surface, while dealing with threats on land and from mines.
Commander Darren Grogan, Commanding Officer of HMAS Sirius, explained the importance of Sirius’ involvement in FCP/WAW.
“Given the ship’s employment in any given operational environment, Sirius is considered a high value unit (HVU) and potentially a mission essential unit. Our involvement in FCP as part of an integrated task group will allow other units to enhance their skills as screen units and give them practical exposure to protecting a HVU,” Commander Grogan said.
In line with the Fleet Commander’s Navy Warfighting Strategy 2018, FCP-E 15 has moved away from the traditional serialised scenarios, in favour of a more realistic and challenging ‘free-play’ model. This type of training will help to ensure the Royal Australian Navy is always ready in the future to respond to government requirements.
Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Bonnie Foster shared her thoughts on the ‘free-play’ scenario.
“I've been part of several serialised exercises, and while they were still challenging, this free-play will no doubt prove far more realistic – it’s all quite exciting!” Able Seaman Foster said.
Following a choke point transit to commence the exercise and to expose the Task Group to a complex sub-surface threat, the force formed a protective screen while Sirius conducted the first ever Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with HMAS Canberra. This was a milestone for not only the two individual ships, but highlights the capability provided by the addition of the new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) to the Royal Australian Navy Fleet.
“To be a part of the first Replenishment at Sea with the Navy’s newest, and arguably most impressive, asset is just fantastic. Opportunities like this don’t come often and I’m grateful I can be part of it,” said Lieutenant Sonia Clark, HMAS Sirius’ Officer of the Watch.
While the Task Group is yet to discover what the future of the exercise holds, what is certain is that Sirius will to continue to provide logistical support, giving the force the endurance to achieve the mission, and to gain invaluable experience operating as a Task Group in a complex tactical environment.