HMA Ships Choules and Huon and French Navy Ship FS d’Entrecasteaux have conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) and flight training serials in the Pacific Ocean.
According to Defence, the three ships met up "midway between New Caledonia and Vanuatu".
“Conducting operations with ships within our neighbourhood is rewarding for all involved and has given us the opportunity to fly profiles with assets that we don’t usually operate with,” said Choules’ Flight Operations Officer and Pilot Lieutenant Mark Green.
LEUT Green added that PASSEXs serve an important function for the RAN, allowing crews to exercise in all conditions and with as many different ships as possible.
“It is beneficial for the aircrew when the weather provides more challenging conditions as it did," he said.
Choules’ embarked MRH-90 Taipan helicopter observed the PASSEX overhead, before practising a series of live winching operations with the French patrol and supply vessel.
One of four ships in the Bâtiment Multi-Mission Class of the French Navy, d’Entrecasteaux is relied on for many functions including patrols, law enforcement and logistics.
Commanding Officer d’Entrecasteaux Lieutenant Louis Ballu said the passage with Choules and Huon was a welcome opportunity to train with a partner navy.
“We enjoyed a productive morning joining with the Royal Australian Navy and conducting some live transfers with the MRH-90,” he said.
“It’s always good to train with our partners in different conditions and learning from each other.”
D’Entrecasteaux has been operating from Noumea, New Caledonia, since July 2016, while the other three Bâtiment multi-purpose ships are based Tahiti, Réunion, and Fort-de-France, Martinique.
The 65-metre ships have a crew of 20 and are capable of operating for up to 30 days before returning to port.