HMAS Ballarat’s crew felt the full force of eight United States Navy EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft when they flew overhead during the ship’s Regional Presence Deployment last month.

Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said this provided valuable realistic training for the ship’s company and the US aviators from VAQ-132 Squadron.

“This activity enabled Ballarat and VAQ-132 to conduct realistic high-end warfighting training,” Commander Pisani said.

“This activity supported both units in maintaining their readiness and preparedness to respond to any contingency in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It also illustrated the strength of the Australia-United States alliance, the mutual trust and respect both countries have for each other, and the precision and skills of our sailors and aviators.”

The aircraft made a number of passes over Ballarat, conducting various profiles and jamming procedures, while the ship’s crew attempted to counter those measures.

The high-tempo activity gave Ballarat’s ship’s company an opportunity to hone their air warfare skills, particularly the combat systems operators.

Able Seaman Wynita Franklin said the high-tempo environment of the activity provided her with invaluable training.

“This was my first time working with Growlers, and it was very exciting and completely different to working in a training environment,” Able Seaman Franklin said.

“My training throughout my career has set me up in preparing for these activities and today was where all that training came together.

“A realistic scenario like this allowed me to use all sensors available to me to provide a clear tactical picture to command.”

HMAS Ballarat is on a three-month deployment to South-East and north-east Asia.

A United States Navy EA-18G Growler from VAQ-132 Squadron conducts a high-speed pass over HMAS Ballarat. Photo: Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez