Hobart’s first operational deployment kicks off in Japan

Published on LEUT Jacob Hepner (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer), LS Thomas Gower (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Hobart (D39)

File image: HMAS Hobart enroute to South East Asia, March 2018. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
File image: HMAS Hobart enroute to South East Asia, March 2018.

HMAS Hobart has completed the initial phase of its first operational deployment, engaging with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) and taken the opportunity to explore Japan prior to continuing to follow-on tasking.

Hobart is part of a Task Force of nine ships, two submarines and four helicopters representing Australia from South East Asia to North Asia for multinational exercises and regional engagement activities.

The ship arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, after successfully completing Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT with JMSDF assets.

Hobart’s Marine Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Shane Suckling, welcomed honoured guests, including Commander Fleet Escort Force, Vice Admiral Hideki Yuasa, for a tour of the Royal Australian Navy’s new Guided Missile Destroyer to show off the exciting capabilities that it can deliver to Australia Navy and its allies.

“As well as the tour, we provided the Vice Admiral with an overview of the ship’s Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), which he showed great interest in,” Lieutenant Commander Suckling said.

“He was impressed with this great capability that the Hobart class provides.”

During their respite time, some of the crew took the opportunity to visit temples, markets, the Imperial Palace and even Tokyo Disneyland.

Able Seaman Christine Cunliffe said her highlight was the Kosoku-ji Temple in Kamakura.

“This was one of the smaller temples that we visited, however it was the gift that kept giving because it was so much more than it seemed.

“At first appeared to be a small Japanese garden on a hillside with small worship areas; however, as we wandered through the garden, we came to a set of stairs leading to a larger garden, temple and a stunning view of the beach side town of Kamakura.

“This was a much appreciated period of both exploration and respite,” Able Seaman Cunliffe said.

This deployment is an important milestone for Hobart following a demanding year of maintenance, upgrades, testing and training.

The ship will now continue on to other countries in the region for bilateral exercises.

Leading Seaman Thomas Gower and Able Seaman Christine Cunliffe at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, during HMAS Hobart's port visit as part of the East Asia Deployment.

Leading Seaman Thomas Gower and Able Seaman Christine Cunliffe at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, during HMAS Hobart's port visit as part of the East Asia Deployment.