Anti-submarine drill in Arabian Sea gathers navies

HMAS Perth, RFA Fort Victoria, HMS Portland (left) and USS Nitze and USS Mason in the Middle East Region during Ship Anti-submarine warfare Readiness/Effectiveness Measurement, Exercise SHAREM. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

In late August, the US Navy staged an anti-submarine warfare drill in the Arabian Sea which was joined by British, French and Australian Navy assets.

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Perth joined USS Nitze and USS Mason which also had MH-60R flights embarked.

Also involved were the Los Angeles class nuclear powered Submarine, USS Dallas, the auxiliary oiler replenishment, RFA Fort Victoria.

The presence of multiple ‘Romeo’ aircraft afforded an opportunity for the aviation teams to co-ordinate and combine efforts said Perth’s Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Josh Carey.

Perth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Ivan Ingham said the exercise allowed coalition partners to assess their responsiveness to a submarine threat in the Middle East.

“It is vital that while we operate in increasingly contested regions our interoperability is practised, maintained and, where we can, progressed,” Captain Ingham said.

“The Ship Anti-submarine warfare Readiness/Effectiveness Measurement (or SHAREM) exercise was extremely important to all units involved and important for Navy, the Australian Defence Force and Australia.”

Participating ships were able to hone their skills in anti-submarine warfare procedures against USS Dallas who acted as the opposing force during the conduct of the exercise.

The force was bolstered by the capabilities of HMS Portland, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate fitted with an advanced sonar suite including passive towed array sonar.

Portland’s towed array was complemented by other towed sensors employed by US Ships Mason and Nitze as well as sonobuoys from fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

During the exercise Perth conducted replenishments with Fort Victoria before returning to counter terrorism and maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman.

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