Tuesday, 16 February 2010
HMNZS Canterbury photo by Chris Sattler
Eleven Australian Navy warships have sailed out of Sydney Harbour to begin an intensive five-week war game stretching from Southern New South Wales to Queensland.
The Fleet Concentration Period (FCP 10) is an annual event, designed to test and hone the skills of thousands of men and women from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The New Zealand Navy will also be on show, with the giant multirole ship HMNZS Canterbury playing a key role in the exercise.
The exercise will begin at Jervis Bay, with anti-surface warfare serials, surface gunnery against towed targets and naval gunfire support against shore batteries. It will then progress to more complex scenarios and the task group will head north to the coast off Newcastle for comprehensive anti-air warfare manoeuvres against RAAF Hawk aircraft.
Simultaneously, an amphibious ship, clearance divers and an Army combat team will conduct in-depth training within Queensland's Shoalwater Bay Training Area, culminating in an amphibious landing of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade (3 Bde). Whilst in Jervis Bay simulated mine clearance operations, utilising advanced technological equipment and Navy divers, will occur.
Commodore Training, Commodore Daryl Bates, says it will be a very busy time for the RAN.
"The training these ships will undertake over the next five weeks will be as challenging as it is varied. The aim is to make sure we are well prepared for the year ahead," Commodore Bates said.
FCP 10 is part of the RAN's ongoing training program and will increase Australian Defence Force capability to protect Australia and its interests. In addition FCP 10 will strengthen defence relationships and improve interoperability with the Royal New Zealand Navy. It is a carefully planned activity and will be conducted within strict environmental, safety and risk management constraints.