The deployments will strengthen diplomatic ties through regional engagement and showcase the capability of the Royal Australian Navy.
The ships have a busy program planned with the first event being Exercise AUSINDEX 15, the inaugural bilateral maritime exercise with the Indian Navy, which follows on from previous military engagements with the Indian Navy back in June. Though the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy have regularly exercised together in recent years, this is the first time the interaction has been formalised and marks an exciting milestone for the bilateral relationship.
Arunta and Sirius will each be involved in multiple exercises including AUSINDEX, BERSAMA LIMA, HAEDOLI WALLABY with the Republic of Korean Navy, and NEW HORIZON, operating with both Australian and foreign military units from around the region.
The aim of these exercises will be to strengthen relationships and enhance mutual co-operation and understanding between the various defence forces. These exercises will also provide opportunities for interaction and the exchange of professional views between personnel from all defence forces.
BERSAMA LIMA is an annual exercise conducted with the Malaysian Navy in the South China Sea, followed by Exercise NEW HORIZON with the Indonesian Navy.
When asked about the importance of the deployments, Arunta’s Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Kingsley Scarce said it was a great opportunity to fly the flag for Australia, whilst achieving specific military aims.
“This is an important deployment in terms of proving our interoperability with our Asian counterparts and learning from each other,” he said.
“Being able to seamlessly integrate with other navies is vital for ensuring maritime security in our region.”
It was a day of mixed emotions for the crews as some were excited to be on their first major deployment since joining the Navy, while others shed a tear at the prospect of not seeing their family and friends for the next three and a half months.
Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Brian Semple in Sirius, was deploying for the first time in his naval career.
“I get to visit five different countries in three and a half months and still get paid each fortnight - sounds like a pretty good deal to me,” he said.
For Able Seaman Cryptologic Linguist Jessica Stock deploying overseas for the first time in Arunta, the departure was a memorable occasion as her father Lieutenant Commander Ben Stock and sister Seaman Communications and Information Systems Emma Stock were on hand to wish her farewell and a safe return.
In the latter half of the deployment the ships will take part in the Fleet Concentration Period and Warfare Assessment Week in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area before heading home back to Fleet Base West.