Australian-hosted exercise Kakadu begins in Darwin

Canadian HMCS Vancouver and Japanese JS Fuyuzuki berthing in Darwin ahead of exercise Kakadu 2016. Photo: Australian Department of Defence

The 13th iteration of the Australian-hosted multinational maritime exercise Kakadu 2016 began with an opening ceremony on September 12 in Darwin, Australia.

Exercise Kakadu is the Royal Australian Navy’s premier exercise and provides an opportunity for regional nations to participate in multinational maritime activities, from humanitarian assistance and search and rescue operations to high-end maritime warfare scenarios.

This is the largest iteration of the exercise in more than 20 years as 19 ships and submarines, 18 aircraft and more than 3,000 personnel are taking part.

“Kakadu is a great venue for navies from throughout the world to work together in a multinational training environment to address shared maritime concerns,” said Capt. H. B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 7. “This year’s exercise continues the trend of conducting more multinational maritime exercises in the region, and the training scenarios planned for 2016 will go a long way in increasing the interoperability of all navies participating.”

During the sea phase of Kakadu, ships and aircraft from nine navies will train together in several complex warfighting scenarios, including an air defense exercise, gunnery exercise, search and rescue training, underway replenishment approaches, anti-submarine warfare vulnerability training, and divisional tactics.

Prior to the sea phase, a harbor phase will allow participants to conduct planning and simulation before heading to see to execute each scenario.

While the exercise began in 1993, 2016 is the first year assets from the U.S. Navy will participate in Kakadu.

In addition to the United States, navies from Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and Singapore will participate in the sea phase while liaison officers from Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga, Timor Leste and Vietnam will coordinate and observe from shore.

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