The Prime Minister says an $89 billion overhaul of the navy will save 1000 South Australian jobs and secure our shipbuilding industry forever.
IN PICTURES: Australia’s newest, biggest and most potent warships have just completed a gruelling set of military tests — demonstrating their readiness to respond to any emergency, anywhere.
The helicopter-troop carrier HMAS Adelaide finished Exercise Sea Explorer yesterday off the Queensland coast, which involved completing a set of tasks intended to test her suitability for her new rapid-response role. In military parlance, this is known as the Amphibious Ready Element.
Her slightly older sister, HMAS Canberra, has a greater task to perform: she’s taking part in her first international event — Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) which involves dozens of warships from nations including the United States and China.
Both of these 27,000 tonne ships are able to carry and deploy — in combat — a force of over 1000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.
HMAS Adelaide’s activities off Queensland provide a taste of what the ships are designed to do.
The Australian Army loaded the ship with troops, trucks tanks and helicopters before sailing along the coast and offloading them all again on Cowley Beach.
All under simulated combat conditions, of course.
It all hinged on a complex weave of co-ordinated activities: helicopter flights, launching landing craft, dodging make-out missiles — while keeping everyone fed and everything fuelled.
Success needed decades of inter-service rivalries to be put to one side.
The naval ship was carrying an RAAF air-traffic-control team and numerous army personnel.
“After we set up, we (put) around 500 military personnel and 37 vehicles across Cowley Beach to conduct their training,” Team Commander, Army Lieutenant Monica Merlo, said in a Defence Department press release.
“On approach to the beach, we take up security positions around the inside of the vessel and then tactically advance onto the beach where we once again adopt security positions,” Platoon Commander 21, Lieutenant David Bannister-Tyrrell, said.
Light armoured vehicles were carried from HMAS Adelaide to the beach — then brought back aboard.
Her last exercise involved simulated rescue work in a disaster area, a role her sister ship HMAS Canberra has already conducted for real off Vanuatu earlier this year.
“It has been very successful,” said HMAS Adelaide’s Captain Sonter. “We have exposed the ship to the inherent challenges of broader amphibious operations and the enthusiasm and skill set of the ship’s company has shown me they are up to the challenge.”
The Sea Series of exercises will culminate with Exercise Sea Raider later this year.
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