The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, consisting of USS Nimitz (CVN-68), Ticonderoga Class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke Class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), conducted a co-operative deployment with Anzac Class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFN 155) of the Royal Australian Navy.
While operating together in the Indian Ocean, US and Australian forces conducted communication integration, cross-deck helicopter landings between ships, air defence exercises, and conducted a replenishment at sea.
Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, said, “Sailing alongside [Commander Antony] Pisani and his team aboard HMAS Ballarat was a privilege and affirms the longstanding and close ties we have with Australia.
“Our nations also share a seafaring heritage and an enduring interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific. Improving our interoperability through a cooperative deployment strengthens these ties and demonstrates our commitment to maritime security in the region.”
Ballarat and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group participated in the recently concluded Malabar exercise alongside the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, which took place in the Arabian Sea from Nov. 17-20.
Commander Antony Pisani said that the strength of the US-Australia alliance was on show as HMAS Ballarat conducted a co-operative deployment with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean.
Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“The Australian and US ships and aircraft operated together for several days illustrating their high-end warfighting capability and promoting a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” CMDR Pisani said.
He added, “This activity was a highlight for the 187 men and women in Ballarat. For many, it was the first time they had seen a United States Navy aircraft carrier. It was a delight watching the team's awe as fighter jets were launched from the carrier, illustrating to many the lethality and precision of carrier based air operations.
“The participation of Ballarat's embarked MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, which was operating within the Strike Group, illustrates our shared mutual trust and respect and the close bonds between our navies and nations.”
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US 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of US national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations.
As the US Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.
HMAS Ballarat is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. Ballarat's combat capabilities have been significantly improved under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, which provided an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability.