HMAS ARUNTA AND HMAS PERTH RISE TO THE CHALLENGE IN TALISMAN SABRE 2015
15 July 2015
As Australian soldiers and US Marines landed on the beach at Fog Bay in the Northern Territory, HMAS Arunta and HMAS Perth were on watch, just over the horizon. As part of the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), The Anzac Class Frigates were working alongside destroyers and cruisers with the Aircraft Carrier USS George Washington as part of Talisman Sabre 2015.
Acting CO of HMAS Arunta, LCDR Kingsley Scare says the strike Group's primary role in the exercise was to make sure the troops got ashore safely. 'Arunta's roles to date have included defending the ESG from the air, surface and sub-surface attacks. 'The ship has also been conducting engagements against 'enemy' units.
The benefits of exercising with the US Navy are vast and varied. The most obvious advantage is the size of the force that the USN has participating in the exercise. The inclusion of a large number of cutting edge warships and aircraft allow many more training opportunities than a purely Australian Defence Force exercise could accomplish. It also allows the ADF to learn about capabilities that are either new into service or being brought into service in the coming years. The opportunity to observe AEGIS destroyers and cruisers provides a unique insight into the capability being introduced in the Hobart Class Destroyer.
Along with the many benefits of working alongside the US Navy there are also challenges. Controlling such a large force requires sophisticated Command, Control and Communications networks. When the navies are operating independently these networks are generally well established an understood but in a combined exercise environment such as TS15, it takes significant effort to ensure that these networks are established, maintained and understood by all the participants. There are also differences in tactics, techniques and procedures.
LCDR Scarce says the most obvious lesson leant in the exercise to date revolves around communication. 'Being able to communicate in an easy to understand and timely manner is crucial to the successful conduct of the exercise, LCDR Scarce agreed. 'Whilst we are very similar to the USN, some terminology used is slightly different and we needed to identify these differences early so we all understood what each other meant.'
Overall though TS15 has been a great success and gave HMAS Arunta's ships company the chance to re-adjust to a higher tempo after seven months in re-fit. 'Talisman Sabre has been a fantastic way to spend our first month at sea since 2014,' LCDR Scarce said. 'The experience for the crew is obviously varied but on a whole it has been mostly positive. Operating in close proximity with some of the most powerful warships in the world is something that most in the RAN don’t experience outside of exercises such as these.'