An Australian command task group element was based in a Japanese ship for the first time during a mine countermeasures exercise in Japan.
Minehunters HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne, together with a commander task group, participated in Exercise Hyuga Nada, a mine countermeasures exercise, off the coast of Miyazaki, Japan, for the past two weeks.
About 1,000 people and 17 ships took part in the exercise from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy.
RAN's Commander Task Group, Commander Brett Dawe, said providing a command task group element based in a Japanese ship was a first.
“Being embarked in JS Uraga is a first for the RAN, but even more significant is the JMSDF willingness to design the exercise, enabling us to command and co-ordinate as co-leads,”CMDR Dawe said.
“This really shows a deep level of trust, familiarity and friendship.
“Exercise Hyuga Nada gave our minehunters the chance to refine methods of working with our regional partners and an opportunity to develop ways of commanding and controlling with and from a Japanese ship.
“With the personnel from two commander task group mine warfare staffs working so closely together, this will absolutely enhance our interoperability.”
Commanding Officer Diamantina and Commander Task Unit, Lieutenant Commander Darren McDevitt, said the exercise would improve procedures when working with regional partners.
“This is a great opportunity to build on not only our relationship with the JMSDF, but also to find ways to better conduct operations, including standard procedures such as communicating and seamanship manoeuvres,” LCDR McDevitt said.
“There were challenges, such as an unfamiliar exercise area, but this exercise gave the RAN an opportunity to showcase our mine countermeasure capability and competence to a navy that excels in this area.”