Defence Minister Marise Payne has announced that major annual maritime activity Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE 18) has commenced.
The maritime activity is part of the government's 2016 Defence White Paper agenda to deepen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.
Over the next three months, HMA Ships Adelaide, Melbourne, Toowoomba, and Success will form a task group that enhances relationships, builds partner capacity and improves military interoperability throughout the south-west Pacific.
Minister Payne said IPE 18 is one of the ADF’s most important annual activities and represents a major contribution to regional security and stability.
"Our ability to respond rapidly to regional humanitarian and security challenges is based on strong and enduring relationships with regional militaries, governments and local communities," Minister Payne said.
"These relationships are forged through disaster planning, exercises and other military activities that enhance our ability to operate seamlessly with our partners in the south-west Pacific.
"Indo-Pacific Endeavour provides the ADF with all of those opportunities."
ADF personnel will carry out a series of engagement activities and military training exercises during port visits in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Minister Payne said the centrepiece of the IPE 18 Joint Task Group will be the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock Ship, HMAS Adelaide.
"HMAS Adelaide provides the ADF with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world. It is perfectly suited to undertake a range of operations in the Indo-Pacific region," Minister Payne said.
The IPE 18 Task Group will depart Townsville on 2 June with nearly 1,000 personnel embarked. The first port call for Adelaide and Melbourne will be Fiji, while Toowoomba and Success will visit Vanuatu.