Four warships left Sydney today to begin the sea phase of the Royal Australian Navy’s first major exercise for the year, Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20).
From 17 February to 6 March, HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius will war game in the vicinity of Bass Strait with five other Australian ships and submarines.
The exercise will also include military aircraft from Australia, the United States and New Zealand.
Commodore Flotillas (COMFLOT) Commodore Michael Harris OAM, RAN said FCP20 involves over 2000 military personnel and focuses on high-end warfighting to certify participating units to deploy on behalf of the Australian Government.
“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 Harris said.
FCP20 will further develop Navy’s ability to engage in complex and dynamic warfighting activities based around sea and air control capabilities.
In conjunction with FCP20, Australian Clearance Diving Team One will also conduct water mine counter measure operations as part of a Mine Counter Measures Task Group deployed to North Eastern Tasmania.
FCP20 will include port visits to Melbourne and Portland in Victoria and Burnie, Devonport and Launceston in Tasmania.
Participating aircraft include a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a United States Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three RAN MH-60R helicopters.
FCP20 also marks the first time a Hobart-Class Destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has participated in a fleet certification period.