KAKADU participants engage in final battle

Just three days into the sea phase of Exercise KAKADU, a task group of six international warships has been locked in a steady battle of anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

The ‘Red Force’ task group is made up of a Japanese destroyer, an American destroyer, an Indonesian corvette and a Malaysian frigate, and is being led by the Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Newcastle.

The task group’s first challenge arrived at dawn on day one when it responded to a surface threat by forming an offensive line and firing their main guns at a target the size of a small boat almost eight kilometres away.

The next day, Red Force defended itself against a heavy air attack, following which each ship in the task group used its main gun to fire at a target towed 400 metres behind a Lear jet.

Night offered little respite from the hectic pace of Exercise KAKADU, with the group’s crews practicing submarine detection, deterrence and prosecution.

During one exercise, five ships closed and continuously attacked an ‘enemy’ submarine attempting to get through their patrol area.
Newcastle’s Principal Warfare Officer – Surface Warfare, Lieutenant Courtney Kruger, said many hands made light work when it came to submarine hunts.

“We are achieving co-ordinated tracking and attacks on the submarine and we are all improving at using proper tactical coordination procedures,” Kruger said.

“It’s pleasing to see everybody across the task group is progressing and developing their skill sets, not only in warfare, but also in interoperability.”

Eighteen warships are taking part in Exercise KAKADU, which is the Royal Australian Navy’s largest multi-lateral exercise.

HMAS Warramunga, an Australian helicopter frigate, leads the ‘Blue Force’ task group which also includes a Canadian frigate and two Singaporean corvettes.

Two Australian submarines, patrol boats from Australia and Papua New Guinea and 18 aircraft from across the region are also involved in the exercise.

Exercise KAKADU finishes on September 23.