The RAN’s first major exercise of the year has come to a successful conclusion. Fleet Certification Period (FCP) 20 tested platforms and personnel through almost three weeks of detailed maritime warfare serials, gradually progressing in difficulty over the course of the exercise.
The program focused on mid-intensity, high-tech warfighting. The Bass Strait operation included over 2,000 military personnel and HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart, Arunta, Sirius, Diamantina and Huon. HMA Submarines Collins and Farncomb were also involved. Foreign military aircraft – a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A aircraft, a US Navy P-8 and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 – also took part in FCP20.
Units were tested in a number of maritime warfighting scenarios, including:
- Amphibious operations;
- Humanitarian assistance/disaster relief;
- Anti-submarine activities;
- Air warfare; and
- Sea mine countermeasures.
Commodore Flotilla (COMFLOT) Commodore Michael Harris said that the successful completion of FCP20 proves that the RAN is deployment-ready.
"The exercise continues Navy's shift from predominantly single ship operations over the past few decades to a complex and dynamic warfighting capability based around the fleet's amphibious ship, in this case HMAS Canberra," he said.
"The successful completion of FCP20 proves Navy is advancing its ability to develop self-supported and sustainable maritime task groups that are capable of accomplishing the full range of maritime security operations."
This year also marked the first time an air warfare destroyer has taken part in a Fleet Certification Period, with HMAS Hobart providing air-defence for the Task Group.
HMAS Canberra also participated in a simulated mass evacuation exercise to focus and build on “lessons learned” during the recent Operation Bushfire Assist. The activity saw approximately 450 role-playing “evacuees” transported from HMAS Cerberus to the Port of Melbourne.