Australian navy begins three-week fleet certification exercise

Feb. 17 (UPI) — Warships of the Royal Australian Navy left the port of Sydney on Monday to conduct ready-to-deploy exercises.

The three-week event, known as the sea phase of Fleet Certification Period 2020, will verify the capabilities of participating vessels, RAN officials announced.

The destroyers HMAS Hobart and HMAS Arunta, the frigate HMAS Stuart and the fleet replenishment vessel Sirius left Sydney for the Bass Straits, separating Australia from Tasmania, where they will meet five other warships and submarines.

Military aircraft, including a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a United States Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopters, will also participate. Exercises include work by an Australian navy anti-mine unit on the Tasmanian coast.

“FCP20 will test competencies in a range of scenarios, including high-end warfighting in the blue water ocean environment, amphibious operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, similar to our recent bushfire support activities,” Commodore Michael Harris, chief of the exercise, said in a press release.

Over 2,000 personnel will be involved in the sea phase of the certifications.

“Exercising with multiple ships, submarines and military aircraft will allow us to test our warfighting capabilities and to assess our preparedness in a challenging maritime environment,” Commander Ryan Gaskin of the HMAS Hobart said.

The process will include stops at several ports on the Australian mainland and in Tasmania.

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