French Navy ships engage Australian, Spanish Navy on their Asia deployment

FNS Mistral (left) and ESPS Cristobal Colon exercised with HMA ships Success and Parramatta in waters to the north of Australia recently. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

After concluding amphibious drills with U.S. Marines off Guam recently, French Navy ships FS Mistral and FS Courbet trained with Australian and Spanish Navy ships in Australian waters.

The French ships engaged Australian ships Success and Parramatta and the Spanish Navy’s Cristobal Colon in waters to the north of Darwin.

The ships conducted a number of exercises including replenishment at sea approaches, a skill required by all warships requiring fuel, provisions or personnel while underway.

Commanding officer Success Commander Grant Zilko said the exercises improved interoperability between each navy.

“Interacting with other navies in this manner strengthens ties between nations and allows us to understand different defence capabilities,” he said.

Mistral and Courbet were in the north of Australia as part of their Mission Jeanne d’Arc 2017, a five-month training deployment for 137 junior officers.

Spanish Cristobal Colon is currently stationed in Australa providing training to Australian personnel that are about to embark on NUSHIP Hobart, Australia’s soon-to-be commissioned Aegis guided missile destroyer.

Ensign Jose Rico from Cristobal Colon commented on the similarities between the navies.

“It was very interesting to see the different procedures and processes between our navies as we ultimately achieve the same outcomes, we just have different ways of accomplishing them.

Success officer of the watch Lieutenant Hannah Phelps said international exercises allowed navies to learn from each other and improve warfighting skills.

Success is currently preparing for exercise Talisman Sabre 2017, a biennial combined Australian and United States training activity.

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