More than 1,200 people, eight warships and 26 aircraft from 15 coalition nations are arriving in Darwin today for the Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercise, KAKADU 2014, to be held from 25 August to 12 September, 2014.
Participants will conduct tactical warfare planning and cultural exchanges in Darwin for the first week of the exercise then head to sea for high-end warfare serials including naval gunfire, communications, boardings and air defence in the following two weeks.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, said KAKADU 2014 aimed to concentrate neighbours from the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions to build on and enhance maritime capability.
“We will focus on the maritime warfare aspects common to all of the forces involved so we can further develop mutual understanding in multilateral operations.
“Solid naval cooperation enables a secure and stable maritime environment, ultimately leading to safety, trust, peace and prosperity on the high seas for all.
“Australia has strong and enduring relationships with all of the participants here today and we are very pleased to be hosting them for one of our most important warfare exercises,” RADM Mayer said.
Warships and aircraft from Australia, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and New Zealand are attending.
Participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vanuatu have key roles, either working in the two KAKADU 2014 Task Groups or as part of the ‘observer-at-sea’ program.
The Royal Australian Navy is represented by HMA Ships Sydney, Stuart, Newcastle and Arunta along with S-70-B2 Seahawk, Bell 429 helicopters and MRH90 Taipan helicopters.
Royal Australian Air Force assets include four 127 Hawks, four F/A-18F Super Hornets, one E-7A Wedgetail and one AP-3C Orion.
Exercise KAKADU is a biennial exercise, now in its 23rd iteration.