The Anzac Class frigate has sailed through the Strait of Malacca alongside USS John S. McCain ahead of Exercise Malabar.
HMAS Ballarat and USS John S. McCain have met in the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, en route to India for Exercise Malabar 2020.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Ballarat, Commander Antony Pisani, welcomed the co-operative deployment with the US’ Arleigh Burke Class destroyer.
“The co-operative deployment allows HMAS Ballarat and broader Navy to hone our warfare and mariner skills and develop our ability to operate and communicate together,” CMDR Pisani said.
“The shared mutual trust both navies have for each other ensure such activities are mutually beneficial, enhancing the readiness and preparedness of the ships that undertake them.
“This deployment reinforces our commitment and right to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight under international law across our Indo-Pacific region.”
Commander Ryan Easterday, Commanding Officer of USS John S. McCain, added, “We find tremendous value in sailing with our close ally Australia, as well as our other allies and partners in support of a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
“The training we are conducting while we operate together helps both ships’ crews improve their mariner skills and warfighting proficiency, in addition to the interoperability benefits we accrue by working together as a team.”
HMAS Ballarat’s Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Matthew Newman, said the co-operative deployment affirmed the preparedness of the ships for combat.
“The opportunity to exercise close manoeuvring at high speeds was a unique experience that solidified a number of core mariner skills in a real-time context,” LEUT Newman said.
“Ballarat and John S. McCain conducted a number of turns, wheels and formations that demonstrated the capability of both vessels and our ability to fight and win at sea.”
Australia was invited to participate in the naval exercise alongside permanent participants India, the US, and Japan, for the first time since 2007, in a bid to ramp up collaboration in the Indo-Pacific amid rising tensions.
The exercise will take place between Tuesday, 3 November and Friday, 6 November.
[Related: ADF to join Exercise Malabar]