The U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy came together for operations in the South China Sea starting April 13, the Navy said.
Over 3,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to observe or participate in the combined exercise. The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict
On April 18, HMAS Parramatta (FFG 154) began sailing with Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) then rendezvoused with amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52).
Their combined operations started with force integration training and maneuvering exercises between Parramatta and Bunker Hill, according to a statement from the USS Bunker Hill.
Operations with USS America started with a precision maneuvers that included Barry in the South China Sea.
“To bring this much combat capability together here in the South China Sea truly signals to our allies and partners in the region that we are deeply committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of the America Expeditionary Strike Group.
Operations with Parramatta have included integrated live fire exercises, coordinated helicopter operations, small boat force protection drills, command and control integration, and maneuvering interoperability.
The events gave both navies the opportunity to integrate all warfare areas, and further strengthen the bond between both countries.
“San Diego [HM-60] ‘Romeo’ pilots have a long flying history with Australian pilots,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jacob “Shaky” Norgaard, “it’s a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship and practice joint tactics, techniques and procedures.”