HMA Ships Stuart, Hobart, Arunta and Sirius departed Sydney in formation on Monday to mark the start of the sea phase of Navy’s first major exercise for the year, Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20).
FCP20 is a high-end warfighting exercise that will certify the participating ships and their crews ‘ready to deploy’ on behalf of the Australian government.
The four warships will sail to Bass Strait where they will engage with five other Australian ships and submarines as well as military aircraft from Australia, the US and New Zealand.
Commodore Flotillas (COMFLOT), Commodore Michael Harris, said FCP20 would further develop Navy’s ability to engage in complex and dynamic warfighting activities based around sea and air control capabilities.
"FCP20 will test competencies in a range of scenarios, including high-end warfighting in the blue water ocean environment, amphibious operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, similar to our recent Bushfire Assist mission," CDRE Harris said.
Additionally, the exercise will be joined by aircraft including a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a US Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopters.
This iteration will be the first time a Hobart Class destroyer has participated in an FCP.
Commanding Officer HMAS Hobart, Commander Ryan Gaskin, said the exercise would test the platforms and personnel involved through maritime warfare serials that graduate in difficulty and complexity.
"Exercising with multiple ships, submarines and military aircraft will allow us to test our warfighting capabilities and to assess our preparedness in a challenging maritime environment," CMDR Gaskin added.
Involving more than 2,000 military personnel, the sea phase of FCP20 is held in Bass Strait from 17 February to 6 March.
FCP20 will include port visits in Melbourne and Portland, Victoria, and Burnie, Devonport and Launceston, Tasmania.