HMAS Ballarat has joined the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the navies of the United States and India, to take part in Exercise Malabar 2020.

Ballarat’s participation in the exercise significantly bolsters the strong maritime bonds between the four countries.

Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said the multinational maritime exercise was an opportunity for Ballarat to participate in an exercise with both ships and aircraft from the four participating navies, increasing mutual understanding and enhancing our combined air and maritime domain awareness.

"Going to sea and exercising together allows each navy to become accustomed with each other’s procedures and capabilities, leading to greater trust and interoperability," he said. 

Commander Pisani said the multinational maritime exercise would illustrate that the participants are capable and adaptive partners able to cooperate within the complex Indo Pacific environment.

“HMAS Ballarat is the first Royal Australian Navy warship to participate in Exercise Malabar since 2007. We are pleased at this opportunity to exercise with our partners in support of a secure and prosperous Indo Pacific region,” Commander Pisani said.

“It has been a busy period for the 192 men and women of HMAS Ballarat.

“We have spent the last couple of months training and preparing the ship materially so that it is ready, prepared and postured to respond to any contingency and undertake this deployment.

“Our ship has many of the best young officers and sailors in the Royal Australian Navy. They proved during our unit readiness work-up and evaluation that they are a highly dedicated and capable team. I have the utmost confidence in them.” 

Ballarat is the sixth of eight Anzac-class long-range frigates capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.