Ballarat, a committed capability in the Indo Pacific

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), LSIS Shane Cameron (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercises, HMAS Ballarat (F155)

HMAS Ballarat conducts a calibration firing of its five-inch gun port side. (photo: LSIS Shane Cameron)
HMAS Ballarat conducts a calibration firing of its five-inch gun port side.

HMAS Ballarat has proven to be a highly capable partner during the first phase of Exercise MALABAR 2020.

The four participating navies from Australia, India, Japan and the United States conducted a range of high-end training, including air defence and anti-submarine exercises, aviation, communications and a dual replenishment-at-sea.

In the heart of the ship, the Operations Room, Ballarat’s officers and sailors work together to identify surface targets.

Principal Warfare Officer Lieutenant Michael Morgan said that communications were exceptional, with the participating navies coming together to achieve successful outcomes in each serial.

“These types of serials allow us to continually develop our tactics and improve our performance at sea alongside our partners to build understanding, capability and interoperability,” Lieutenant Morgan said.

“The efficacy and potency of Ballarat was comprehensively established in the gunnery serial and ships worked together effectively and shots were on target.

“The determination of Ballarat’s crew to aggressively engage threats in the exercise areas displays our ability to project power at sea.”

Night offered little respite from the hectic pace of Exercise MALABAR, with the Japanese, Indian, Australian and American crews practising anti-submarine warfare.

The contribution of sailors, including Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Lachlan Sommerville, on the ship’s 50-calibre machine guns, strengthens Ballarat’s self-defence.

“The effectiveness of a well-trained crew cannot be underestimated. It is a massive privilege and responsibility to lead and train with such a professional team of warfighters,” Chief Petty Officer Sommerville said.

While undertaking the major serials of Exercise MALABAR, Ballarat’s crew continued to undertake a wide range of daily activities, including maintenance, damage control drills, cross-decking and Officer of the Watch manoeuvres.

Exercise MALABAR 2020 is a milestone opportunity to enhance Australia’s maritime capabilities and build interoperability with our closest regional partners: India, Japan and the United States.