Known as the homeport for most of the Armidale Class Patrol Boat fleet of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Darwin’s HMAS Coonawarra is currently playing host to the Navy’s largest multinational warfare exercise, Exercise Kakadu.
Coonawarra’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mick Doncaster, described the opportunities of welcoming the Australian and international participants to such a major Exercise whilst ensuring that the demands of a busy operational base continue to be met.
“Exercise Kakadu is an important activity in Navy’s efforts to raise, train and sustain a premier warfighting capability, but we have to superimpose all these efforts over a very busy operational base.
“Coonawarra is actually Australia’s busiest naval base, when you consider the volume of vessel movements moving through Darwin,” Lieutenant Commander Doncaster said.
The major daily tasking for the men and women of Coonawarra revolves around supporting Armidale Class Patrol Boats.
“There is a constant operational pressure to ensure that we can put the Patrol Boat crews to sea so that they can meet the taskings required by the Government.
“It is a huge team effort that evolves every officer and sailor at Coonawarra, along with Patrol Boat headquarters and Systems Program Office, Defence Maritime Services, the Fleet Support Unit and the Fleet Logistics Support Element, among other,” Lieutenant Commander Doncaster said.
Coonawarra is located within Larrakeyah Barracks in central Darwin, and is the home port of 10 Armidale Class Patrol Boats, and some 650 officers and sailors.