The Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercise has ended after a final week of war games off the coast of Darwin.
Exercise KAKADU, held from 25 August to 12 September 2014, involved eight ships, 26 aircraft and more than 1200 people from 15 Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean navies.
The exercise concluded with a ‘free play’ scenario where the friendly nations were divided into two fictional enemy forces to battle at sea over disputed territory.
Exercise Director, Captain Heath Robertson, said the purpose of final sea phase was to test each nation’s ability to work together in a realistic and unpredictable warfare environment.
“The exercise controllers in the headquarters ashore injected intelligence feeds into each force ‘Blueland’ and ‘Redland’ to lead them down a certain course of action, and test maritime interoperability,” he said.
“Both forces did exceptionally well and proved that the collaborative tactical planning and graduated training during the first two weeks of the exercise enabled us to understand and improve how each other work.”
“Exercises like KAKADU are important to the Defence of Australia and the region,” CAPT Robertson said.
The fleet successfully conducted 19 helicopter operations, 18 air defence serials, 18 simulated anti-submarine exercises, 11 gun tracking or firings, four replenishment at sea serials, two towing exercises and one light line transfer.
Coalition participation included JS Hatakaze from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, PNS Saif and PNS Nasr from the Pakistan Navy and BRP Ramon Alcraz from the Philippine Navy along with personnel from Bangladesh Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The Royal Australian Navy was 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 included 127 Hawks, F/A 18 Jets, E-7A Wedgetail, AP-3C Orion aircraft, LR35 Learjet and GAT36 Learjets.