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HMA Ships Ballarat, Canberra join US-led exercise

HMA Ships Ballarat, Canberra join US-led exercise
Department of Defence | Photo: Leading Seaman Nadav Harel

The RAN vessels are set to participate in a large multi-national military exercise in the western Pacific Ocean.

The RAN vessels are set to participate in a large multi-national military exercise in the western Pacific Ocean.

Amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra and Anzac Class frigate HMAS Ballarat have joined US allies in the western Pacific Ocean ahead of the US-led Large Scale Global Exercise 21. 

A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft has also been deployed to support certain phases of the exercise.

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“We have just completed some extraordinary training in and around Australia and now we have this exciting new opportunity to consolidate those gains,” Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said.

“… Activities like this build strong operational relationships, which are the foundation for responding to shared security challenges.” 

Commanding Officer Canberra Captain Jace Hutchison, who’s crew has been joined by US Marines, said the exercise would provide personnel with invaluable training experience.

“Any opportunity for us to test our skills and processes with partner nations enhances our readiness and ability to respond as required,” CAPT Hutchison said. 

The vessel’s participation in the first phase of the exercise comes just weeks after they took part in Exercises Talisman Sabre off the coast of Queensland.  

A ceremony in Kissing Point, Townsville, marked the end TS21 — a three-week, multinational military exercise involving approximately 17,000 troops from Australia, the US, UK, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea, along with observer nations France and India.  

Exercise highlights included:

  • South Korea’s inaugural participation — the nation’s destroyer, ROKS Wang Geon, contributed to a maritime warfare scenario involving around 20 ships and 60 aircraft;
  • the inaugural deployment of the US MIM-104 Patriot surface to air missile;
  • 120 Spartan Paratroopers from Alaska embarking in two RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft in Darwin, jumping over the skies of Charters Towers to join Australian land forces;
  • amphibious forces from Australia, the US, Japan and the UK operating from HMAS Canberra for the first time as an integrated landing force; and
  • the inaugural deployment of the US Space Command.

[Related: Townsville ceremony marks end to TS21]

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