Four helicopters and close to 70 personnel from HMAS Albatross have headed north to take part in Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, an exercise that will traverse troubled waters.
Two MH-60 Romeo helicopters from 816 Squadron and two MRH90 helicopters from 808 Squadron are onboard a number of Australian ships which departed Sydney on September 4 to participate in a series of key military exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Canberra class amphibious ship HMAS Adelaide leads the deployment and will be accompanied at various stages by frigates HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Toowoomba, HMAS Parramatta, and replenishment ship HMAS Sirius.
It is the biggest coordinated Australian task group deployment since the early 1980s.
Romeos are embarked on HMAS Parramatta and Toowoomba, while the two MRH90s are onboard Adelaide.
Running from September 4 to November 26, Indo-Pacific Endeavour will focus on enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s key regional partners including Brunei, Cambodia, the Federated States of Micronesia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.
More than 1200 Australian Defence Force personnel will participate.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment, which has been in planning for over 12 months, was part of ongoing efforts to enhance and develop strong positive relations with regional militaries through both dialogue and practical activities.
“This deployment is another opportunity to promote security cooperation in the region and exercise our humanitarian and disaster relief capability where it may be used,” Minister Payne said.
“The Australian Defence Force regularly conducts exercises with a range of militaries to strengthen relationships and cooperation.”
Minister Payne said activities like Indo-Pacific Endeavour generated personal relationships, shared experiences and common understanding with our regional partners that could be crucial to success in times of uncertainty or crisis.
“Maintaining the rule of law and respecting the sovereignty of nations large and small is fundamental to continued peace and stability in our region,” Minister Payne said.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour will also involve service personnel from the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force and include Defence civilians, helicopters, and fixed wing aircraft.
“The Joint Task Group will demonstrate the Australian Defence Force’s ability to operate across the full spectrum of military operations, from high-end military capabilities such as anti-submarine warfare to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Minister Payne said.