From its RIMPAC 2014 headquarters, onboard the United States Navy Amphibious Assault Ship USS Peleliu, the Australian Amphibious Task Group (ATG) has commanded an Expeditionary Strike Group made up of 13 warships and a combined landing force of soldiers and marines from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of South Korea, Tonga and the United States of America.
RIMPAC has provided the ATG with the opportunity to fine tune their skills and command procedures for the introduction of the Australian Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment System (ADAS).
ADAS will be underpinned by the Australian Army landing force, joint enablers and the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock ships, which will soon be introduced into service and commissioned as HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide.
Royal Australian Navy Captain Jay Bannister, the Commander of the Australian ATG, said the RIMPAC experience would greatly enhance Australia’s ability to conduct amphibious missions.
“Operating from the USS Peleliu, with a multi-national embarked force, has given us the opportunity to work the command relationships between the ground forces and the supporting sea base,” Captain Bannister said.
Exercise RIMPAC is conducted off the coast of Hawaii every two years. This year, 49 surface ships, six submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 armed forces personnel from 22 nations participated in RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise.
“A real highlight of exercises like RIMPAC is the opportunity to work alongside other nations and learn from the different experiences and expertise of their personnel,” said Commodore Peter Leavy, the Royal Australian Navy’s Commodore Warfare and the Commander of the RIMPAC 2014 Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force 176.
Throughout RIMPAC 2014, Commodore Leavy has led the team of thirty Task Force 176 command element personnel embarked in Peleliu, who hail from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, United States Navy, United Kingdom Royal Marines and Chilean Navy.
During the course of the exercise, the coalition team has overseen in excess of ten discrete amphibious missions, including non-combatant evacuation operations, amphibious raids, amphibious assaults and live fire events, with members of the landing force and their equipment moved ashore by both air and sea.
“My team will command the Australian Amphibious Task Force, in partnership with the Commander of the Landing Force, and RIMPAC 2014 has provided them with an exciting opportunity to prepare for the new amphibious capabilities being introduced for the Australian Defence Force over the next few years,” Commodore Leavy said.
Press Release, July 30, 2014; Image: Australian Navy