The participants of the KAKADU exercise from the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions have completed the first sea phase of the Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercise.
Occurring off the coast of Darwin from 25 August to 12 September 2014, eight ships and 26 aircraft from Australia, Japan, Pakistan, New Zealand and the Philippines have been divided into two fleets for a fictitious battle over disputed maritime territory.
On the first day at sea, Royal Australian Air Force Fast Jets simulated an ‘attack’ threat, flying low over the warships which had to respond with simulated long and short range missile deployments.
Exercise participants also conducted main gun and small arms firings; battled pretend fires and floods; rehearsed man overboard drills; tested communications; and mastered complex ship manoeuvres.
Exercise Director, Captain Heath Robertson, said participants were being tested in all aspects of maritime warfare—beginning with rules of engagement and concluding with all-out warfare.
“The ships need to deal with the three dimensional threat—under the water, on the water and above the water,” Captain Robertson said.
“The training is providing regional navies with the opportunity to work together in a complex warfare environment so that together, we can ensure maritime security.
“We are learning how our regional partners work and what has become abundantly clear is that navy people share a lot in common.
“If we can do high-end warfare together, we can do anything,” Captain Robertson said.
The warships will return to Darwin Harbour today (4 September) and return to sea on 7 September for the second sea phase of the war games.
The Royal Australian Navy is represented by HMA Ships Sydney, Stuart, Newcastle and Arunta along with S-70-B2 Seahawk, AS350BA Squirrel and MRH-90 helicopters.
Royal Australian Air Force assets include 127 Hawks, F/A 18 Jets, E-7A Wedgetail, AP-3C Orion aircraft, LR35 Learjet and GAT36 Learjets.