Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced that Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Ballarat has returned to her homeport of Fleet Base West near Rockingham, Western Australia, after a successful Indian Ocean deployment.
The Anzac Class frigate deployed in October with her 187-strong crew from 816 Squadron and embarked helicopter.
During her nine weeks at sea, Ballarat participated in Exercise Malabar, a high-end training activity alongside India, Japan and the US.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds commended the crew for their professionalism during the deployment.
“The men and women of HMAS Ballarat have bolstered maritime interoperability in support of a secure and stable Indo-Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The ship’s advanced long range air, surface and sub-surface capabilities added to the training outcomes of Exercise Malabar, and her crew have strengthened navy-to-navy skills in company with three of Australia’s important regional partners.
“Ballarat’s crew represented the nation with distinction during this deployment. I’m pleased they have now returned home safely in time for Christmas.
“I also extend my thanks to the crew’s families, because it is with their support that Ballarat successfully completed this deployment.”
Ballarat’s Commanding Officer, Commander Antony Pisani, said he was proud of what his crew had achieved.
“HMAS Ballarat’s contribution to Exercise Malabar provided a landmark opportunity for Australia to build shared skills with our partners from India, Japan and the United States,” CMDR Pisani said.
“As four major democracies we share a vision for a secure and stable Indo-Pacific. This has created a solid basis for cooperation and Exercise Malabar turns this into meaningful and tangible action.”
Following Exercise Malabar, HMAS Ballarat sailed in company for several days with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, deepening the strong bonds between the Australian and US navies.
HMAS Ballarat also conducted bilateral exercises with the Malaysian and Indonesian navies during her return journey to Australia, reaffirming these close maritime partnerships and showing shared support for a secure and stable region.