Over the course of the past week, seven warships sailed from Navy’s Fleet Base East and Fleet Base West, hinting at a return to normal after coronavirus restrictions caused much of the ADF’s non-essential training to grind to a halt. The ships are tasked with testing newly-upgraded systems and exercise as part of a Maritime Task Group.
HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart and Stuart sailed from Fleet Base East in Sydney, while HMA Ships Anzac, Arunta, Ballarat and Sirius departed Fleet Base West in Western Australia.
All relevant training will take place off Australia’s east coast and northern waters, with Anzac undertaking sea qualification trials following her recent mid-life upgrade and Ballarat sailing to the east coast for unit readiness training. The remaining ships will sail in company for a period of Force Integrated Training, essential for Maritime Task Group operations.
The ships are heading to sea for training that will enable them to test their systems, conduct mariner and warfare training in areas such as ship handling, damage control, emergency drills, and task group warfare, according to Commodore Stephen Hughes, Commander Surface Force.
“This year has tested us in ways we would not have expected 12 months ago, but by putting multiple ships and more than 1,300 Navy people to sea from both sides of the country we are demonstrating we’re seaworthy, adaptive and operationally ready,” CDRE Hughes said.
“Some of these ships will deploy as a Task Group for Exercise RIMPAC 2020 off Hawaii incorporating high-end tactical exercises and working with partner nations.
“Anzac’s sailing is an important milestone as the newly upgraded Frigate completes her successful integration of new systems and capabilities, as part of a scheduled trials period.”
Acting Commanding Officer of Ballarat, Lieutenant Commander Michael Forsythe, said the Ship’s company were looking forward to returning to sea for high-end training and work-ups.
“We’ve spent the year so far in the west conducting Mariner Skills Evaluations and Sea Qualification Trials, so to sail out for some even more complex training to test us is welcome,” LCDR Forsythe said.
“Getting back to sea for longer periods, putting Ballarat through her paces and continuously refining our training is the best way for us to stay ready to fight and win at sea.”