Australian frigate concludes half-year deployment to Pacific

Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat has recently returned home to Fleet Base West following a six-month Pacific deployment.

Commanding Officer, Commander David Landon said the deployment had a number of highlights, including acting as consort to one of Navy’s newest ships HMAS Adelaide during her work-up, and taking part in exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.

“But the real highlight was participating in Exercise RIMPAC 2016 off Hawaii,” he said.

During exercise Rim of the Pacific, (or RIMPAC), Ballarat joined more than 40 ships and submarines, and 200 aircraft from 26 countries in the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

Following RIMPAC and before returning to Australia, Ballarat took part in Exercise Northern Shield which involved all three arms of the Australian Defence Force deploying to remote north-western Australia to counter a fictitious threat to the country’s national security.

The exercise incorporated force preparation activities, land force manoeuvres, air operations and maritime evolutions.

This was Ballarat’s first deployment since she underwent the anti-ship missile defense upgrade in 2014/15, and Commander Landon said his crew performed admirably during the entire six-month trip. The ship clocked in over 24,000 nautical miles during the 25 weeks underway.

According to the navy, Ballarat will now head into a short maintenance period giving the ship’s company a chance to take leave and undertake various courses before preparing for the next year.