A number of helicopters from HMAS Albatross are taking part in Exercise Ocean Explorer 2019, underway in the West Australian Exercise Area, highlighting navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Three MH60-R Maritime Combat Helicopters from 816 Squadron and a MRH-90 Maritime Support Helicopter from 808 Squadron at Albatross are taking part in the exercises, along with HMA Ships Canberra, Success and Newcastle along with a Royal Australian Air Force P8 Poseidon aircraft.
As part of Ocean Explorer, the maritime task group transited from Sydney to Western Australia to join up with RAAF maritime patrol aircraft in order to locate and prosecute potential submarine threats.
During the transit, simulated adversarial submarines were identified and located by RAAF P-8A Poseidon aircraft partnering with the Romeo helicopters from Canberra and Newcastle to pinpointing the threats.
Australian Maritime Task Group commander, Captain Andrew Quinn said there were impressive joint capabilities in action during the exercise.
“Submarines complicate the manoeuvre of a maritime surface task group,” Captain Quinn said.
“The world-leading identification, location and tracking capabilities offered by the Poseidon and Romeo aircraft provide a potent response to the growing proliferation of potential submarine threats in Australia’s near region.
“The joint maritime effect delivered by navy and air force in this domain positions Australia as a capable partner in maintaining a rules based global order.
“The joint exercise undertaken during Ocean Explorer demonstrates the Australian Defence Force’s ability to deploy an integrated and highly effective capability to protect our nation’s sea lines of communications and economic security.”
Aviation Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Commander Damian Liberale from 816 Squadron’s Flight 4 (Parramatta), who is currently embarked on Canberra, orchestrates the aircraft’s mission in both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, as well as in other directed tasking.
“With 24 Romeos between our training and operational squadrons, navy is currently supporting eight embarked flights in various fleet units,” LCDR Liberale said.
“Currently the Romeo operates mainly from Anzac class and Adelaide class frigates, and in the near future Hobart class destroyers, and it is exciting to see them embarked in the Canberra class amphibious assault ships to augment other anti-submarine warfare assets.
“The sophisticated combat systems in the aircraft allow us to accurately locate a submarine using organic sensors and engage with anti-submarine warfare weapons during the prosecution of a hostile adversary.”
Following the exercises the ships will undertake a deployment to various ports in South Asia.