A fleet of vessels from the Royal Australian Navy has left Australia, as part of a deployment to conduct exercises within south-east Asia and Hawaii as part of a scaled-back RIMPAC 2020 schedule over the months to come.
A number of ships will set sail for Hawaii to take part in the biennial RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise.
According to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Australia’s participation in RIMPAC reflected the closeness of our alliance with the US and the strength of our military relationships with participating nations.
“Since the 1970s, Australia’s participation in RIMPAC has helped foster and sustain the partnerships that secure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Minister Reynolds.
“The exercise provides the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise and cultivate ties with the armed forces of Pacific Rim countries."
Once outside Australian waters, the ships will refuel and resupply while underway in accordance with protocols that mitigate COVID-19 related risks.
The ADF also commences a regional deployment, which will see ships deployed on a rotating basis to the Indo-Pacific.
“It’s important during global challenges that Australia continues to demonstrate its commitment to its partners and to a secure and prosperous region,” Minister Reynolds said.
"The ADF conducts regular military-to-military engagements throughout the Indo-Pacific every year. These engagements deepen Australia’s partnerships with security forces in the region and enhances our ability to operate with partner nations during security or humanitarian crises."
Commander of the Joint Task Group, Commodore Michael Harris, OAM, recognised the resilience of the personnel deployed and the contribution of their families and loved ones.
"This deployment demonstrates our ability to conduct sustained operations as a joint force, and we acknowledge the support our families and friends without whom we cannot achieve these tasks," CDRE Harris said.