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RAN, RAAF gear up for Exercise Kakadu

RAN, RAAF gear up for Exercise Kakadu

A host of military vessels and aircraft will be supported by thousands of personnel from over 20 nations as part of this year’s iteration of the RAN-led exercise.  

A host of military vessels and aircraft will be supported by thousands of personnel from over 20 nations as part of this year’s iteration of the RAN-led exercise.  

Exercise Kakadu 2022 (KA22) is set to commence on Monday (12 September) involving more than 15 vessels, over 30 aircraft and approximately 3,000 personnel from more than 20 countries.

Conducted in the Northern Australian Exercise, KA22 will be led by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

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The biennial exercise, which commenced in 1993, is the RAN’s flagship international engagement activity.

In addition to an at-sea exercise program, KA22 is expected to involve a harbour phase comprising briefings, a Fleet Commanders and Senior Leaders’ conference, cultural events, sports and social functions.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, welcomed the arrival of personnel from partner nations.

"Exercise Kakadu is Navy’s most significant international engagement activity and is vital for building relationships between participating countries,” VADM Hammond said.

“The theme for this year’s exercise is ‘Partnership, Leadership, Friendship’ and we aim to demonstrate that in spades over 15 days of intense activity at sea and ashore.”

Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, noted the importance of KA22, which marks the 15th iteration.

“Exercise Kakadu provides an excellent opportunity for regional partners to undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment,” RADM Earley said.

“As our exercise is being conducted in the Northern Australian Exercise area, I would like to extend a thank you to the Northern Territory community for their continued support and interest, and a warm welcome to our international participants to a beautiful part of our country.”

KA22 is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, 24 September.

The commencement of the RAN-led international exercise comes less than a week after the conclusion of Exercise Pitch Black 22.

Exercise Pitch Black 2022 officially wrapped up following a series of multinational air domain exercises in the Northern Territory from 19 August to 8 September.

Approximately 2,500 military personnel and 100 aircraft from 17 nations took part in this year’s iteration, operating out of RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Bases Tindal and Amberley.

This represented the largest international contingent in the exercise’s history, with Australian forces joined by counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, the UK and the USA.

Notably, aircraft from Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea participated for the first time.

RAAF F-35A Lightning II aircraft also took to the skies for their inaugural participation in the exercise, operated by Nos. 3 and 75 Squadrons.

[Related: Exercise Pitch Black winds down ]

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