By Lieutenant Commander Todd Fitzgerald
HMA Ships Stuart and Arunta sailed in company with ships from Japan, South Korea and the United States in the Pacific Ocean this week.
Commanding Officer Arunta Commander Troy Duggan said he welcomed this opportunity to continue close and effective cooperation with key partners in the region.
“RAN remains committed to strengthening longstanding security partnerships across the region,” Commander Duggan said.
“Our relationships are based on mutual respect, trust and a shared vision for a secure, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”
Participating US units included Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine and fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericson.
Commanding Officer Barry Commander Christopher A. Gahl said every opportunity to train alongside Australia, Japan, and South Korea was mutually beneficial.
“Our ability to seamlessly integrate for advanced warfare training is a testament to each navy’s professionalism and commitment to international maritime norms and regional stability,” Commander Gahl said.
Participating units from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) included JS Ise and JS Ashigara.
Commander Escort Division Two, of the JMSDF, Captain Kitagawa Keizo, said it was an honour to train together as one team.
“JMSDF is and will remain committed towards the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region with allies and partner navies, and it is the fundamental strategic end state of JMSDF,” Captain Keizo said.
South Korea Ships Chungmugong Lee Sunshin and Seoae Ryu Seong-Ryong also took part.
Commodore Maritime Task Squadron 71 Captain Kim Sung Hwan, of the South Korean Navy, said the passage exercise provided opportunities that could enhance steadfast and flexible coordination.
“It will also serve as an opportunity to strengthen joint-response capabilities for various security situations by building up the friendship and coordination system between participating nations,” he said.
The multinational group exercise was part of the RAN’s regional deployment to South-East Asia and the Pacific.
HMA Ships Stuart and Arunta are continuing a regional deployment through South-East Asia after completing Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.
The Regional Presence Deployment demonstrates Australia’s commitment to sustaining strong and positive defence relationships with regional nations as well as the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.
This article was published by the Australian Department of Defence on September 11, 2020.